Forty-one prisoners have died after a fire swept through an overcrowded jail near Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.
The fire, which broke out at 1 to 2 a.m. at the Tangerang Prison Block C, had been extinguished and authorities were still evacuating the facility, said Rika Aprianti, a spokeswoman of the prison department of the law and human rights ministry.
“The cause is under investigation,” she added.
The block housed inmates being held for drug-related offences and had a capacity for 122 people, she said.
She did not say how many people were present when the fire broke out, but confirmed the jail was overcrowded.
Kompas TV showed footage of firefighters trying to put out huge flames from the top of a building. The broadcaster reported 41 people had died and 8 had been seriously injured.
“The initial suspicion is this was because of an electrical short circuit,” police spokesman Yusri Yunus told Metro TV, which cited a police report saying that 73 people also had light injuries.
Only 15 guards were on duty for the entire building, which housed 2,000 inmates – a far higher number than its intended 600-person capacity.
This incident of Indonesian prison fire has drawn attention to the issue of overcrowding in the country’s jails.