A massive fire raged through an overcrowded prison near Indonesia’s capital early Wednesday, killing at least 41 inmates and injuring 39 others.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of fire that started at Block C of Tangerang prison on the outskirts of Jakarta designated for drug offenders, said Rika Aprianti, spokesperson for the corrections department at the Justice Ministry.
The block housed inmates being held for drug-related offences and had a capacity for 122 people, she said. She did not say how many people were present when the fire broke out, but confirmed the jail was overcrowded.
The prison in Tangerang, an industrial and manufacturing hub near Jakarta, housed more than 2,000 inmates, far more than its 600 people capacity, according to government data as of September.
Kompas TV showed footage of firefighters trying to put out huge flames from the top of a building. The broadcaster reported 41 people had died and 8 had been seriously injured.
“The initial suspicion is this was because of an electrical short circuit,” police spokesman Yusri Yunus told Metro TV, which cited a police report saying that more than 70 people had suffered injuries.
Jailbreaks and riots that led to fire are common in Indonesia, where overcrowding has become a problem in prisons that are struggling with poor funding and large numbers of people arrested in a war on illegal drugs.