Body after body has been brought out of the raised Comayagua jail in Honduras after what is now recognised as the world’s worst prison fire.
More than 350 inmates were either burnt alive or died from smoke inhalation as they were trapped in their cells.
But their shocked relatives believe it is the guards who are to blame for such a large loss of life.
Maria Ramirez, whose husband died in the fire, said:
“They are a disgrace because they could have unlocked the doors and they didn’t. Instead of opening the doors they started shooting at them.”
Honduras President Porfirio Lobo has suspended all local and national prison officials pending an inquiry. After describing the tragedy as
being totally ‘unacceptable’ and referring to the overcrownding in most of the country’s prisons, he announced there would be a revision of conditions in jails to see how things could be improved.
The blaze is thought to have been started by an inmate setting alight to a mattress. The fire quickly swept the building and took over three hours to be brought under control.