Dozens Killed In Fire At Prison In Honduras

Published February 15, 2012 10:45AM (EST)

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Fire has swept through a prison in Honduras, killing dozens of inmates and leaving some 40 injured.

The head of the national prison system, Danilo Orellana, said the fire broke out Tuesday night at a prison in the town of Comayagua. Officials are investigating the cause of the blaze but two theories are that it was triggered by rioting prisoners or by an electrical short-circuit, he said.

The facility held at least 800 inmates and is located 140 kilometers (90 miles) north of the Central American country's capital, Tegucigalpa.

It is feared that many inmates escaped during the fire, said Hector Ivan Mejia, spokesman for the government's security secretariat.

Radio reports from Comayagua said dozens of prisoners were burned beyond recognition as they were trapped in their cells. The reports said the prison was destroyed by the flames.

Radio Globo, a station in Comayagua, said the death toll exceeded 200, but Honduran authorities would neither confirm nor deny this account.

By Salon Staff

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