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Chile prison fire kills over 80 inmates

Family members gather outside prison gates after blaze reportedly broke out during gang fight.

An area of the San Miguel prison is burned after a fire killed at least 81 prisoners in Santiago, Chile, today.
An area of the San Miguel prison is burned after a fire killed at least 81 prisoners in Santiago, Chile, today.
Image: Aliosha Marquez/AP/Press Association Images

A PRISON FIRE WHICH BEGAN during a riot has killed at least 83 inmates at the San Miguel prison in Santiago, Chile.

Another dozen prisoners have been seriously injured, according to officials.

The AP reports that the prison was severely overcrowded before the fire broke out, with around 1,900 people detained in a prison built for 700.

It took three hours to bring the blaze under control, according to Chile’s national prison police director Luis Masferrer.

According to firefighters, although over 200 inmates were evacuated from the area near the fire, around 150 remained in the immediate vicinity of the flames and a large number of these died from asphyxiation.

The BBC reports that the fire was started during a fight between rival inmate gangs.

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As the following news report shows, worried relatives have gathered outside the prison for news of survivors. Chileans nationwide heard the events unfold as one of the prisoners had phoned state television to call for help on an illegal mobile phone:

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