Huffington Post reports that 358 inmates were killed in a fire that started in the Honduras prison on Wednesday. The facility was very crowded and many prisoners died in their locked cells from severe burns and asphyxiation.
The prison, which is located in the central town of Comayagua, is home to people who have committed severe crimes, such as, homicide and armed robbery. Authorities were not able to determine who is responsible for the fire, but they are now undergoing an investigation in this sense.
A former prison employee declared that an inmate said he was going to set the facility on fire. This confession was made right before smoke was detected in the building. Her declaration was confirmed by several other survivors who stated that an unidentified inmate lit his bed on fire on Tuesday night shouting that everyone in the prison will die. Unfortunately, firefighters were unable to unlock the cells in time and approximately 100 inmates were killed within several minutes after the prisoner’s threat.
Josue Garcia, the spokesperson of the Comayagua fire department, explained reporters that the inmates could not be saved because the firefighters didn’t know where the cell keys were. There were many other prisoners who were carried out of the blazing building, but died because of the injuries they suffered.
Paola Castro, the governor of Comayagua state, held a press conference after the incident. The governor claims that she received a phone call on Tuesday night from an unidentified person telling her that he was about to set something on fire. Castro used to work as a secretary at the prison which is why she guessed that the person on the phone was referring to the Honduras prison. She immediately notified the Red Cross and the firefighters, but they arrived 30 minutes after the fire started when great part of the building had already been damaged.
A spokesperson of the Honduras Security Ministry announced that 475 prisoners escaped during the fire, 358 inmates were declared dead and 21 persons were taken to the hospital with severe injuries. Authorities plan to increase control in Honduran prisons in order to avoid similar incidents in the future.