At least 41 prisoners have been killed and several dozen injured in a fire in one of the modules of the overcrowded Tangerang prison, outside the Indonesian capital Jakarta. At least eight people are seriously injured, while another 72 have a mild condition, explained the Jakarta police chief, Fadil Imran. The first reports point to a short circuit in the electrical installation.
The fire started at dawn on Wednesday in the block of the penitentiary designated for inmates with drug crimes, where at the time of the incident there were at least 122 people. After just over an hour and a half fighting the flames, firefighters and emergency teams have managed to extinguish the fire, those responsible for the prison said in a statement.
The spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections of the Ministry of Justice, Rika Aprianti, confirmed during a press conference the number of deaths and injuries and added that an investigation into the fire has been opened.
The Indonesian Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Yasonna Laoly, inspected the prison this morning after the event and has urged work on strategies to prevent similar incidents.
One of the deceased, the minister pointed out, was imprisoned for terrorism and another for murder, while the majority were convicted of drug offenses. Among the fatalities, there are two foreigners, a South African and a Portuguese.
More than 2,000 prisoners are being held in Tangerang Prison, according to the latest official data published by the Government. This is a population of inmates that exceeds the maximum capacity of 600 inmates in the compound by more than 245%.