Friday, 10 December 2010

81 dead in Chile gang warfare prison blaze | Travel news from car rentals

81 dead in Chile gang warfare prison blaze Travel news from car rentals: "massive blaze which started during a riot at a Chile prison has claimed at least 81 lives and injured many more.
The blaze is alleged to have been started during a prison riot between two rival gangs when a prisoner set several mattresses ablaze to distract warders attempting to quell the violence in a cell block at overcrowded San Miguel Prison.
The facility, sited just south of the country’s capital Santiago, holds convicted members of violent drugs gangs, some of whom were rivals before their arrest and imprisonment. The fire, which started in the early hours of yesterday morning, took three hours for emergency crews to bring under control.
Jaime Concha, director of the police operations, told reporters the police had acted as quickly as they could, adding they had to cope with around 1,900 inmates in a facility built to hold a maximum of 700. Television clips showed screaming prisoners frantically waving their arms through the prison’s window bars, begging to be rescued.
A crowd of hundreds of desperate relatives and friends of the trapped inmates gathered at the prison gates, telling television crews the prison governor had ordered the gates locked, preventing emergency crews and fire engines from dealing with the blaze. Prison authorities have not as yet stated the reasons for the delay in firefighter access to Tower 5, the seat of the fire."

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