At least 40 people have been killed in a devastating prison fire in Indonesia. The prison was overcrowded. The incident took place in a jail in the country’s Banten province late Wednesday (September 8) local time.
Reuters quoted Indonesian officials as saying in a report on Wednesday morning.
According to the report, there were more inmates than the capacity of the fire in the block of the jail where the fire broke out. At least 39 prisoners were injured in the incident.
Rika Aprianti, a spokeswoman for the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights, said a fire broke out in the C block of the Tangerang prison in Banten province between 1am and 2am on Wednesday. Later that fire was brought under control.
Authorities are still conducting rescue operations there, he said. However, she did not say exactly how long after the fire was brought under control.
“The fire is being investigated,” Rica said.
She added that the C-block of the jail housed the accused in drug-related cases and there was room for a total of 122 people.
However, she did not say exactly how many prisoners were there at the time of the fire. Rika Aparyanti, however, admitted that more prisoners were being held in that block of the prison than the capacity.
The city of Tangerang, near the capital Jakarta, is known as the center of Indonesia’s industrial and construction industries, Reuters reported. According to a data released by the government in September, the Tangerang city jail had a capacity of 600 inmates but more than 2,000.
Indonesian police spokesman Yusari Yunus told local Metro TV that the fire was initially believed to have been caused by an electrical short circuit.
Police were also quoted as saying that 73 people were slightly injured in the blaze.