A fire in the jail in the city of Comayagua in Honduras, Central America may have killed at least 100 inmates with dozens trapped in their cells with no way to escape.
A report by the BBC says that the fire broke out late at night on Feb.14, taking more than an hour to bring under control. The cause of the fire is unknown with the possibility that it may have been deliberately started by inmates being investigated. The prison holds around 800 inmates. Some were able to escape by climbing up onto the roof and then jumping to safety whilst others were trapped in their cells.
A spokesman for the firefighter's department said that the many injured were being treated in local hospitals whilst the more severely burned have been transferred to Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. It is thought that some prisoners may have taken advantage of the chaos to escape.
The Guardian newspaper says that there were reports of shooting inside the jail before the fire started. Other sources however say that an electrical fault may be to blame.
Spain's main television channel RTVE is quoting a death toll of 272, the worst tragedy of this type to hit the country. According to the news channel the fire broke out in an area of the prison which held 500 prisoners and quotes a fireman (in Spanish) as saying that there are "many charred bodies in cells who would surely have tried to escape the fire but who were unable to get out." Some of those in the cells are burned beyond recognition and it will need careful forensic study to identify the bodies.