10 killed in Colombia prison fire

Bogota, Jan 28 (IANS) At least 10 inmates were killed and 25 others injured late Monday in a fire that broke out in a prison complex in northern Colombia, the government confirmed Tuesday.

Saul Torres, head of the country’s penitentiary system, said five people were killed in the fire at Barranquilla’s Modelo prison and the other five died in hospital, Xinhua reported.
The fire started around 8.30 p.m. (1.30 a.m. GMT on Tuesday) when inmates reportedly set fire to mattresses to block tear gas thrown by wardens attempting to control a clash between prisoners, local RCN radio reported.
The riot followed a routine inspection earlier in the day that resulted in the seizure of hallucinogenic drugs and weapons from some cells, the radio added.
The fire was put out early Tuesday, but relatives of prisoners remained outside the jail demanding information of their family members and a thorough investigation.
Quoting local officials, RCN said overcrowding was the primary cause of the tragedy.
The prison houses at least 725 inmates, though its capacity is just over 400, according to local media.