A fire at an overcrowded Indonesian prison killed 41 inmates and left many more injured on Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, the fire broke out at around 1:45 a.m. local time in Block C2 of Tangerang prison, which housed mainly inmates for drug-related offenses.
Fire in overcrowded Indonesian prison kills 41 people
The deceased inmates included two foreigners, a South African and a Portuguese, the country’s Minister of Law and Human Rights, Yasonna Laoly, said in a translated press release. One of the victims was an inmate in a terrorism case and another in a murder case, Laoly said.
Dr. Hilwani, of Tangerang General Hospital, told Reuters and the BBC that some of the bodies were so badly burned they were unidentifiable, but DNA tests are being carried out.
Others injured have been transferred to Tangerang hospital for treatment, according to Laoly. Eight suffered severe burns, nine minor injuries and 64 from smoke inhalation, Reyhard Silitonga, head of corrections at the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, told AP.
Rika Aprianti, a spokeswoman for the ministry’s prisons department, told Reuters that 122 people were held in Block C2 at the time of the fire, which was only built to hold 38 inmates.
Loaly acknowledged the overcrowding during a press conference on Wednesday and told reporters that the entire prison was designed to hold 900 people, but houses more than 2,000, AP reported.
The suspected cause of the fire was an electrical short circuit, Laoly said in a press release . During the press conference, he revealed that the electrical system had not been upgraded since the prison was built in 1972, according to Reuters .
Loaly promised in a press release to compensate the families of the deceased with 30 million Indonesian rupiah, equivalent to just over $2,000.