About 100 dead, 80 burned in Honduras prison fire

February 15, 2012

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Authorities say fire has swept through a prison in Honduras, killing at least 100 inmates and leaving some 80 with serious burns.

Comayagua fire department spokesman Josue Garcia said he saw "hellish" scenes while trying to put out the fire. He said "some 100 prisoners were burned to death or suffocated in their cells."

Garcia said many prisoners were trapped because the guard who had the key to their cells could not be located.

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

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

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.