Eight teens die in Chilean detention center fire

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SANTIAGO, Oct 22 (Reuters) Eight teenagers died in a fire they started in a juvenile detention center in southern Chile, a local official said today.

The blaze broke out at around midnight on Sunday (0830 hrs IST today) in the city of Puerto Montt. Guards tried to enter the burning building but the teenagers had blocked the doors with furniture and mattresses as part of a protest, Ledi Barria, a local government official, told Radio Cooperativa.

''They died of asphyxiation from the smoke from the fire which they themselves started,'' Barria said.

Police said there were around 35 youths in the building at the time and those who died were aged between 14 and 18.

One local Internet site said the teenagers were protesting against conditions at the center.

REUTERS SG VC1925

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