The death toll from a fire in the Colombian prison

The death toll from a fire in the Colombian prison in Tuluá rises to 51

The Tuluá prison houses 1,267 inmates and is over overcrowded by 17%, According to early accounts, the fire started after 1:00 a.m. local time (6:00 a.m. GMT) and although Tuluá firefighters arrived quickly to control the fire, many of the victims died from smoke inhalation.

Colombian President Iván Duque, who is on a working visit to Portugal, 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 that allow clarifying this terrible situation.”

For his part, the president-elect, the leftist Gustavo Petro, said on social networks that “what happened in Tuluá, such as the massacre in La Modelo (in March 2020 in Bogotá), forces a complete rethinking of prison policy in the face of the humanization of the prison and the dignification of the prisoner.”

Petro expressed his condolences to the families of the dead prisoners, adding that “the Colombian State has seen the prison as a space for revenge and not for rehabilitation.”

On the night of March 21, 2020, in Bogotá’s La Modelo prison, 24 prisoners died in a revolt by inmates asking for protection from the coronavirus pandemic. On that occasion there were also more than 90 injured.

The number of deaths in the fire that occurred early Tuesday in the prison of the Colombian city of Tuluá, in the department of Valle del Cauca (southwest), amounted to 51, official sources reported.