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article imagePrison fire in Chile leaves 81 inmates dead, scores injured

By Igor I. Solar     Dec 8, 2010 in World
Santiago - Eighty-one prisoners died, dozens are injured and more than 200 were evacuated in a horrendous fire that affected the fourth floor of block five of the Prison of San Miguel in Santiago de Chile.
Early reports say the incident began around 5:30 a.m. and was caused by a fight between inmates. The head of operations from the prison, Colonel Jaime Concha, confirmed the number of deaths and said that work is underway to identify the dead inmates.
"Action was prompt and expeditious, but we have a population of 1900 inmates. We will provide information to the families so they know about this situation. We are working on the identity of the deceased," said the prison authority, according to website Wireupdate.
Dozens of volunteer firefighters arrived at the prison and attempted to control the fire. Ambulances carried the injured to several hospitals and emergency care facilities.
The inmates that survived the flames were taken to the courtyard of the compound, while assessing the place to determine that the emergency is under control.
Authorities had began to reach the families of the prisoners, who anxiously seek information about their relatives held in that area of the prison. Many relatives are terribly upset , CNN reports, and have assaulted authorities who approached them to provide information on the dead and injured. According to firefighters the fire is under control, however dense smoke is still coming from the windows of the prison.
According to newspaper La Tercera (in Spanish) the current population of inmates largely exceeds the capacity of the prison.
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