BOGOTA: More than 50 people died and 24 others were injured in a blaze at a prison in the south-western Colombian city of Tulua, after inmates rioted and set fire to mattresses, as per reports.
Tito Castellanos, head of the National Penitentiary and Institution Institute, asserts that the prison lacks a fire suppression system. "We were able to utilise portable extinguishers at first." He was reported by Xinhua news agency as stating that once the fire broke out early on Tuesday morning at the prison housing 180 inmates, a protocol went into effect to save those insides, and several guards were injured trying to help the inmates.
Tulua firefighters put out the fire and sent the injured, including two guards, to nearby hospitals. Health officials reported that nine of the injured were being treated in intensive care units for severe burns and smoke inhalation.
Up to 49 prisoners dead in the prison, and two more died after being taken to a hospital. According to Castellanos, no inmates escaped during the disturbance that was started by an altercation between some of the detainees.
Ivan Duque, the president of Colombia, tweeted: "We regret the incidents that took place at the Tulua prison. To shed light on this dreadful circumstance, I have ordered an investigation. I'm with the victims' families in spirit." Gustavo Petro, the president-elect, too mourned the situation and offered his condolences to the families of the deceased.