A fire reportedly started by a Honduran inmate made for a deadly blaze that killed over 300 neighboring inmates.
A prison in Comayagua, Honduras was set on fire Tuesday night and became what’s being considered one of the world’s deadliest prison fires.
While authorities have yet to establish a cause for the fire, it’s believed that an inmate of a prison in Comayagua was the culprit, reportedly screaming “We will all die here” before igniting his mattress on fire.
The fire quickly spread as officials scrambled to put out the flames and find keys to the cells.
The fire was reportedly extinguished within an hour but it was too late for hundreds of inmates that were burned to death or died of smoke inhalation.
“We couldn’t get them out because we didn’t have the keys and couldn’t find the guards who had them,” a Comayague fire department official told the AP. Rescue efforts proved difficult as the fire department had trouble locating officials with keys to inmate cells.
Some prisoners who made it out of their cells alive ran for the hills, others with more serious injuries were carried to safety by rescuers. Sadly, others ultimately died from the flames or smoke while trying to escape.
According to reports, around 475 people escaped while around 356 are missing or presumed dead. Reportedly, around 20 were injured during the incident.
The prison reportedly held over 800 people, most convicted of serious crimes like homicide.
Following the fire, according to BBC, relatives of prisoners clashed with police as they tried to get into the prison seeking their loved ones—They were met with shots in the air and tear gas from police.
With the Associated Press.