The hearth broke out in a single day, a while between 1 and 2am, a spokesperson for the jail division of the legislation and human rights ministry stated. “The trigger is beneath investigation,” Rika Aprianti was quoted as saying by information company Reuters.
Ms Aprianti stated a number of of the inmates had been there for drug-related offences. She, nonetheless, didn’t say how many individuals had been current when the hearth broke out, however confirmed the jail was overcrowded.
The block the place the hearth broke out had the capability for 122 folks, she stated. It was constructed to carry solely 38 folks. The ability was nonetheless being evacuated as of 9am native time, Ms Aprianti stated.
Footage shared by native media confirmed flames engulfing the jail’s detention centre, and later pictures confirmed officers carrying orange physique luggage out to a ready ambulance. Among the our bodies had been unidentifiable as a result of they had been badly charred, a health care provider from the Tangerang Normal Hospital advised Reuters.
The prison in Tangerang – which is an industrial and manufacturing hub in the Banten province and is roughly 40 kilometres away from Jakarta – housed more than 2,000 inmates, much more than the prison’s 600-person capacity, according to government data as of September.
“We’re working together with relevant authorities to look into the causes of the fire and of course formulating prevention strategies so that severe catastrophes like this won’t happen again,” Indonesian law and human rights minister Yasonna Laoly said in a statement after visiting the prison.
“Some rooms couldn’t be opened,” as the fire raged, the minister said.
Two of those who died in the fire were foreign nationals, from South Africa and Portugal, Mr Laoly said.
“The initial suspicion is this was because of an electrical short circuit,” police spokesman Yusri Yunus told news channel Metro TV. The prison’s electrical wiring had not been upgraded since 1972, Mr Laoly said.
Overcrowded prisons are not a new phenomenon in Indonesia, where the emphasis is on incarceration instead of rehabilitation, according to experts.
“At the Tangerang prison there are only five guards working one shift to guard a prison with 2,079 people,” Leopold Sudaryono, a criminologist and PhD candidate at the Australian National University told Reuters.
There were 13 guards on duty at the time the fire broke out, according to Ms Aprianti.
This was the deadliest fire incident witnessed in Indonesia after one that broke out at a fireworks factory in 2017, killing at least 30 people, that additionally occurred in Tangerang.