At least 49 dead and 30 injured, including several guards, left this morning a fire that occurred in the prison of the Colombian city of Tuluá, in the department of Valle del Cauca, in the southwest of the country, official sources reported.

The tragedy apparently began with a fight that escalated into a riot in which some inmates set mattresses on fire, sparking a fire that spread through much of the medium-security prison.

The director of the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (Inpec), General Tito Castellanos, told the W Radio station that the tragedy occurred in pavilion 8, “with an unfortunate result of 49 people dying due to the fire and 30 more injuries affected by the conflagration.” The Tuluá prison houses 1,267 inmates, added the Inpec director.

“My solidarity with the families of the victims of the Tuluá prison, Valle del Cauca, who lost their lives after a riot that caused a fire at dawn today. The pertinent investigations are already being carried out to clarify the facts,” he lamented. on his Twitter account the Minister of Justice of Colombia, Wilson Ruiz Orejuela.

According to the first versions, the fire started after one in the morning and although the Tuluá firefighters arrived quickly to control the fire, many of the victims died of smoke inhalation.

“There was a call at almost 1:20 in the morning (06:20 GMT) about a possible mutiny (…) It is verified that there was a burning of many mattresses, and so far about 50 people have been transferred to care centers,” The spokesman for the Tuluá firefighters, Marco Antonio Orozco, told Blu Radio.

Colombian President Iván Duque, who is on a working visit to Portugal, also lamented the tragedy and expressed his solidarity with the families of the victims. Duque said on his Twitter account that he is in contact with the director of Inpec and gave “instructions to carry out investigations to clarify this terrible situation.”

Tuluá is in the center of Valle del Cauca, 92 kilometers from Cali, the regional capital.

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