The Madeleine Brand Show for February 15, 2012

Fire rips through overcrowded Honduran prison

Riot police stand guard at the entrance


Riot police stand guard at the entrance of the National Prison compound in Comayagua, Honduras, on February 15, 2012, where more than 300 prisioners were killed and scores injured when a fire overnight tore through the prison in central Honduras, the Central American country's prisons director said.

A huge fire broke out through an overcrowded Honduras prison late Tuesday. The Honduran attorney general's office said 357 were confirmed dead from the fire at the prison in Comayagua, located about 45 miles north of Honduran capital Tegucigalpa.

Authorities say the blaze began when a prisoner lit his mattress on fire. Dozens of inmates were burned alive while locked in their cells because prison officials could not find the keys to release them. Nearly 500 prisoners may have escaped.

This morning outraged relatives of the dead confronted prison officials, throwing rocks at them and forcing their way into the prison. But police drove relatives back with tear gas.


Shannon O'Neil, who studies Latin America at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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