Tegucigalpa – Trapped inmates screamed from their cells as a fire swept through a Honduran prison, killing at least 300 inmates in the world’s deadliest prison fire in at least a century, authorities said Wednesday.
Some 475 people escaped from the prison in the town of Comayagua and 356 are missing and presumed dead, said Hector Ivan Mejia, a spokesman for the Honduras Security Ministry. He said 21 people had been injured.
Dozens were trapped behind bars as prison authorities tried to find the keys, officials said. Honduran authorities said the fire had been started by a prisoner who set his mattress ablaze in his cell.
Outraged relatives of dead inmates tried to storm the gates of the prison Wednesday morning to recover the remains of their loved ones, witnesses said. The crowds were driven back by police officers firing tear gas.
Channel 5 television showed dozens of inmates’ relatives hurling rocks at officers.