Honduras Prison Fire Kills More Than 350 Inmates

A massive fire swept through an overcrowded prison in Honduras and killed more than 350 inmates Wednesday, many of them trapped and screaming inside their cells.

A senior official at the attorney general’s office, Danelia Ferrera, said 359 people died in the blaze that began late Tuesday night at the prison in Comayagua, about 75 kilometres north of the capital Tegucigalpa.

“It’s a terrible scene … Our staff went into the cells and the bodies are charred, most of them are unrecognizable,” Ferrera said, adding that officials would have to use dental records and DNA in many cases to identify those killed.

Battered by violent street gangs and drug trafficking, Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world, according to the United Nations.

There are frequent riots and clashes between rival gangs in its cramped jails, although it was not yet clear if the Comayagua blaze – one of the worst prisons fires in Latin America – was started deliberately or if it was an accident.

“We heard screaming from the people who caught on fire,” one prisoner told reporters, showing the fingers he fractured in his escape from the fire. “We had to push up the roof panels to get out.” Continue Reading…