October 23, 1996 in Nation/World

Fire Kills 26 Inmates In Overcrowded Prison

Compiled From Wire Services

Flames consumed a cell in an overcrowded downtown prison early Tuesday, killing at least 26 inmates. It was unclear whether guards or prisoners started the fire.

Three guards were detained for questioning after Director of Prisons Antonio Marval said the blaze had been sparked by tear gas canisters that guards threw into the cell. But a lawyer with the Attorney General’s office said prisoners told him they had set their own mattresses on fire.

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