Monday 5 December 2016

10 inmates die in fire at Philippines maximum-security prison

Published 09/10/2015 | 15:31

The blaze was the second in two years to hit Leyte Regional Prison in Leyte province
The blaze was the second in two years to hit Leyte Regional Prison in Leyte province

A fire has destroyed a dormitory at a maximum-security prison in the central Philippines, killing 10 inmates, officials said.

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The blaze was the second in two years to hit Leyte Regional Prison in Leyte province, Bureau of Corrections spokesman Roberto Olaguer said.

He added that the fire may have been caused by faulty wiring in the building that was constructed after the earlier fire in 2013.

"This was a maximum-security building and it was padlocked. So maybe when the fire happened suddenly, it may not have been unlocked immediately," Mr Olaguer said, adding he had no other details and that a senior prison official from Manila was on the way to Leyte to investigate.

Philippine prisons are notoriously overcrowded and have poor facilities. The Bureau of Corrections said the prison has a capacity of 500 inmates but housed 1,895 before the fire, including 1,256 in the maximum-security building.

On its website, the bureau said the prison's facilities were "often below par" compared with other prisons.

Mr Olaguer said inmates displaced by the fire will be housed in a minimum-security compound.

The 42-year-old prison was also damaged in November 2013 by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest storms on record to hit the Philippines, he said.

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