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350 inmates die in Honduras prison Fire

 
 
 
 
 
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Forensic personnel remove the corpse of one of the inmates of the National Prison compound in Comayagua, Honduras, on February 15, 2012.

A massive fire has swept through a prison in Honduras killing at least 350 inmates, many of whom burned to death in their cells, officials say.

According to senior official at the attorney general’s office, Danelia Ferrera, the blaze that began late on Tuesday night at the prison in Comayagua about 75 km north of the capital Tegucigalpa killed 357 people.

“It’s a terrible scene … Our staff went into the cells and the bodies are charred, most of them are unrecognizable,” Ferrera said.

The fire broke out at around 10.50 pm at the Penitenciaria Nacional de Comayagua, a 400-capacity prison, which had been housing up to 900 prisoners.

Authorities believe the flames were started by an inmate setting fire to his mattress in a crowded communal cell.

Dozens were trapped behind bars as prison authorities tried to find the keys, some inmates escaped by breaking the roof panels and jumping from the building.

Inmate’s relatives tried to storm the gates of the prison to recover the bodies of inmates. Police pushed back the crowds by firing tear gas at them.

Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world, according to the United Nations, and there are frequent riots and clashes between rival street gangs in its cramped prisons.

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