The world's deadliest prison fire in the century, with 358 confirmed deaths so far, occurred Tuesday night in Honduras, according to Associated Press.
Local Comayugua Gov. Paola Castro received a phone call from an inmate threatening to set the Comayagua prison on fire. Castro said she notified the Red Cross and fire brigade minutes after the phone call.
The New York Times reported that by the time the first round of rescuers arrived at around 11:30 p.m., the fire had already been ablaze for 40 minutes.
"We were asleep when we suddenly heard the screams of people on fire," a surivivor said on the Televicentro televison network who were outside the prison, the Times reported.
Both articles emphasized the fact that the Comayagua prison, was overcrowded and at double capacity. 856 prisoners were packed into barracks, Supreme Court Justice Richard Ordonez told AP. Ordonez is leading the fire investigation.
Many bodies remain unidentified due to incineration, NY Times reported. The Times also noted that prison riots and fires are not uncommon for Hondurus. After a riot in 2003 in a Honduran prison, the government supposedly promised to improve the system, according to a government report. However, a fire sparked in another overcrowded prison" and "killed more than 100 prisoners.
AP reported that officials have not been able to improve prison conditions because they lack sufficient funds.