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Fire kills 41, injures dozens more at Indonesian prison



PHOTO: -gregg-/Flickr

At least 41 people have been killed and over 70 others have been injured after a fire ripped through an Indonesian prison on western Java, today. The fire at the Tangerang Penitentiary tore through the prison in the early morning hours. Most inmates were asleep at the time. Police speculate that the fire could have been caused by an electrical fault.

The first was put out by rescue teams a couple of hours before dawn. Prisoners were also evacuated at this time. The fire mostly attacked a block that housed prisoners incarcerated over drug charges. Inmates with serious injuries were rushed to Tangerang’s general hospitals for medical assistance. Prisoners who had minor wounds were taken to a health clinic.

Indonesian law and human rights minister Yasonna Laoly, says the cause of the fire is being investigated and strategies are being developed to ensure something similar doesn’t happen again. Jakarta police chief Fadil Imran, says an electrical fault may be the culprit. In fact, Yasonna says the electrical wiring hasn’t been upgraded since the prison was established, nearly 50 years ago.

“I have checked the scene, based on early observation, it is suspected [the fire] happened because of a short circuit”, says Fadil.

Local media captured the blaze, showing the flames swallowing up the prison. Later, they displayed images of numerous orange body bags. Dr Hilwani from Tangerang General Hospital, says some of the bodies were burned so badly they were rendered unrecognizable. The prison had already struggled with overcrowding and criminologist and PhD candidate at the Australian National University, Leopold Sudaryono, says that the overcrowding made the emergency rescue efforts harder to carry out. He adds that the prison was also understaffed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post Reuters The New York Times


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Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.

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