Fire Kills 51 After Apparent Riot Attempt At Colombia Prison

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Jail officials and security forces gather outside a jail that suffered a deadly fire in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A fire at a prison in southwestern Colombia has killed at least 51 people and injured a dozen more, prison authorities reported Tuesday.

The director of the national prison system, Tito Castellanos, told Radio Caracol that it’s not clear if all of the dead were prisoners. He initially said 49 had died, but the Justice Ministry later raised the toll to 51.

He said the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday at the medium security prison in the city of Tulua.

He said inmates had set mattresses on fire without considering the consequences.

Justice Minister Wilson Ruiz added that more than 20 inmates were being treated for injuries in hospital, and said that two prison guards sustained minor injuries.

President Iván Duque expressed condolences to the families of those who died and said he had ordered investigations into the cause.

Relatives gather outside the jail after a fatal fire in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)

Police block access to a jail that was the site of a deadly fire in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)
Relatives listen to a police officer reading a list of surviving inmates after a fatal fire at a jail in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 49 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)
Police Col. Wilson Silva reads a list of surviving inmates to relatives gathered outside a jail after a fatal fire in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 49 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)
A woman and child wait outside a jail for inmate status after a deadly fire at the prison in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 49 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)
Police guard a prison after a deadly fire inside, in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 49 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)
Police investigators prepare to enter a jail where a fatal fire broke out in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 49 people were killed after the broke out inside the prison during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)
Inmates’ relatives wait for news of their loved ones outside a jail where there was a deadly fire in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 49 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)
A woman reads a list of inmates who survived a deadly fire at a jail in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 49 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)
Inmates’ relatives embrace outside the jail where there was a deadly fire in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 49 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)

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