At least 41 people were killed and eight others were seriously injured when a prison fire erupted in Indonesia on Wednesday, according to authorities. Adding to the feeling of panic that has seized the country’s overloaded penal system, which has already been hammered by the influenza epidemic, the event occurred on an already packed day.
According to Rika Aprianti, a spokesperson for the Directorate General of Prisons, the cause of the fire at the Tangerang jail, which is located approximately 25 miles west of the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, is still under investigation. The Jakarta police, on the other hand, said that they believed the incident was caused by a short circuit in the prison’s electrical system.
A huge fire raged across the jail block, with heavy smoke pouring from the structure as firemen rushed to extinguish the flames, according to television video shown at the time.
During a news conference, Jakarta police commander Fadil Imran said that “41 prisoners perished, eight were severely wounded, and 72 others suffered minor injuries.”
Authorities were still looking into the origin of the event at Tangerang Penitentiary, which is located just outside of the Indonesian city of Jakarta, although it was believed that an electrical problem was to blame.
According to the website of the penitentiary department, the jail housed somewhat more than 2,000 convicts, more than three times the number of detainees that the facility was intended to accommodate.
Rika Aprianti, a spokeswoman for the Penitentiary Directorate General, told Metro TV that the block where the fire broke out had a maximum capacity of 40 prisoners but was actually housing 120.