Honduras officials says dropped cigarette may have caused fire that killed hundreds

The Associated Press

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - The Hondurans government says a dropped cigarette may have set off the prison fire that killed at least 359 people in the city of Comayagua.

Witnesses have told officials that a prisoner fell asleep while smoking, dropping it to his mattress.

Chief prosecutor Luis Alberto Rubi said Tuesday that the accident theory is backed by experts of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The agency did not immediately respond to an AP request for comment.

Rubi told Channel 5 television the autopsy of 277 inmates showed no evidence of gunshot wounds. He also ruled out the theory that gasoline was poured to light the fire.

The Feb. 14 prison fire was the world's deadliest in a century.