9 dead in Leyte prison blaze
Lalaine Jimenea (The Philippine Star) - October 9, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Nine prisoners were killed and another remained missing in a fire that gutted the maximum-security prison area of the Abuyog Penal Colony in Southern Leyte on Thursday.

The names of the fatalities were not immediately available as authorities are investigating the cause of the fire.

Wardens as well as inmates scrambled to save prisoners from their cells as the blaze struck a section of the penal colony.

Most of the dead were held in a special section for inmates with psychological issues or physical infirmities, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said yesterday.

“Five inmates were patients at the psychiatric ward (and) two inmates were weak, old and (had) eye problems,” De Lima said, citing a Bureau of Corrections report on the incident.

“Two inmates were farm workers who initially were already safe but went back inside to help other inmates,” she added.

A tenth inmate remained unaccounted for, De Lima said.

The fire raged for nearly eight hours, gutting one prison building, and was finally brought under control early yesterday, said Insp. Constantino Pedrosa, deputy police chief of Abuyog town where the prison was located.

Pedrosa said the facility was built for 500 inmates, but held 1,256 men at the time of the blaze. The remaining 1,246 prisoners have been accounted for.

Initial investigation showed the fire started in the infirmary section of the maximum security prison area at around 3:50 p.m., which jail authorities believed was caused by faulty electrical wiring.

ABUYOG ABUYOG PENAL COLONY ACIRC BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS CONSTANTINO PEDROSA DE LIMA FIRE INMATES JUSTICE SECRETARY LEILA PEDROSA SOUTHERN LEYTE
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