Indonesian prison fire kills 41

A man walks past ambulances that will transport the bodies of victims outside the prison in Tangerang on September 8, 2021, after a fire broke out and killed 41 inmates. (Photo by FAJRIN RAHARJO / AFP)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AFP) — A fire tore through an Indonesian prison on Java island on Wednesday, killing 41 people and injuring dozens of others, an official said.

The blaze at the Tangerang Penitentiary, just outside the capital Jakarta, broke out in the early hours when most inmates were asleep.

Rescue teams were able to put out the fire, which was mostly contained in one block that housed prisoners jailed over drug charges, at around 3:00 am (2000 GMT Tuesday) and evacuated the victims.

“Forty-one inmates died, eight were badly injured and 72 others sustained minor injuries,” Jakarta police chief Fadil Imran told a press conference.

Victims with serious injuries were rushed to Tangerang’s general hospitals for treatment, while prisoners with minor wounds were treated in a health clinic.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the incident, but suspected an electrical fault may be behind the fire.

“I have checked the scene, based on early observation, it is suspected (the fire) happened because of a short circuit,” Imran said.

© Agence France-Presse