Rio de Janeiro : A fire claimed the lives of eight inmates at a Brazilian prison in the early hours of Wednesday, according to media reports quoting officials.
The tragedy took place in the prison in the town of Rio Piracicaba, in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais. The police mentioned short-circuit at a cell as the likely cause of the fire.
The flames initially had to be fought by volunteers, with the assistance of a water truck belonging to municipal authorities. It took an hour for fire department in the larger city of Itabira – some 40 km away – to reach the scene, the reports said.
Eight of the facility’s 23 inmates died of suffocation or as a result of the burns they suffered.
The police responsible for prison safety blamed inmates for the accident, noting that they often improvise illegal electric connections in their cells.