At least 51 dead in prison riot fire in Colombia: report

TEHRAN, Jun. 28 (MNA) –At least 51 prisoners died after a fire started during a prison riot in southwestern Colombian city of Tulua, head of National Prisons Agency said on Tuesday, one of the worst incidents of recent prison violence in the country.

“It is a tragic and disastrous event,” General Tito Castellanos, director of the INPEC prison agency, told local Caracol Radio early on Tuesday. “There was a situation, apparently a riot, the prisoners lit some mattresses and a conflagration occurred.”

Castellanos later confirmed a death toll of 51 people — 49 who died in the prison and two who died after being taken to hospital., NBC News reported.

“Unfortunately the majority of the dead died because of smoke inhalation,” he told Caracol. “We have two (injured people) who have been sent to Cali. Right now their diagnosis is with the doctors and we expect a report.”

Twenty-four people are being treated in hospital and the fire was put out by local firefighters, Castellanos added.

The prison has a total of 1,267 inmates and the cell block where the fire occurred houses 180.

An official read a list of prisoners still alive and unhurt to anxious family members gathered outside the prison, some of whom shouted for joy when they heard their loved one’s name.

MA/PR

News Code 188542

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