At least 41 killed in fire at overcrowded Indonesian prison, dozens injuredtext_fields
Jakarta: At least 41 people were killed and about 80 others injured as a fire tore through an overcrowded Indonesian prison in the early hours of Wednesday when most inmates were asleep, an official said.
All the injured were taken to nearby hospitals and health clinics, and eight of them are in serious condition, according to Jakarta police chief Inspector General Fadil Imran, Xinhua news agency reported.
Television footage showed a massive fire raging through the prison block, with thick smoke billowing from the building as firefighters raced to put out the flames.
The fire occurred at 2:20 a.m. local time and was extinguished at 3:30 a.m.
Authorities were still investigating the cause of the incident at Tangerang Penitentiary, just outside the capital Jakarta, but suspected an electrical fault may have been the cause of the fire, said Jakarta police spokesperson Senior Commissioner Yusri Yunus.
Yasonna Laoly, the minister of law and human rights, visited the prison on Wednesday to inspect the damage, and said he had instructed staff to focus on the evacuation of the prison and the recovery of the victims.
"I convey my deepest condolences for the victims of this fire," he said, adding that an investigation was underway. "This is a tragedy that concerns all of us."
The overcrowded block, which was designed for holding 40 prisoners, accommodates 122, said Rika Aprianti, a spokesperson for the prison department at Indonesia's Law and Human Rights Ministry.
Many of the prisoners held in the affected block were those involved in drug and narcotics related cases, according to her.