Fire at overcrowded jail kills at least 41 in Indonesia
Jakarta, Sep 8: A fire at prison killed at least 41 on the outskirts of Indonesia's capital on Wednesday, 8 September. The incident left 39 injured in the early hours when most prisoners were asleep, reports say.
The fire broke out at Block C of Tangerang prison around 1 am and 2 am at the jail near Indonesia's capital, Rika Aprianti, spokesperson for the prison department of the law and human rights ministry said.
"The cause is under investigation," the spokesperson added, stating that the inmates are still being evacuated from the jail, which is designated for drug offenders.
As per the government data, the prison, which is designed to house 1,225 inmates drug offenders, has over 2000 inmates, Aprianti said.
Block C of the prison in Java's westernmost province was stuffed full of 122 convicts and the fire was extinguished a few hours later. The local channel aired the visuals of firefighters trying to put out huge flames from the top of the building, The Guardian reported.
The cause of the fire has not been ascertained yet however initial investigation indicates the fire was caused due to an electric short circuit in the jail. "I have checked the scene, based on early observation, it is suspected (the fire) happened because of a short circuit," Jakarta police chief Fadil Imran told the media in a press conference.
Jailbreaks and riots that led to fire are common in Indonesia, where overcrowding has become a problem in prisons that are struggling with poor funding and large numbers of people arrested in a war on illegal drugs, as per a report in the PTI.