Prison fire in Venezuela kills 17

Fire in Venezuela's Carabobo prison kills 17 and injures 11 others

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Venezuelan prison

A fire at a prison in northern Venezuela has killed 17 people and injured another 11, prosecutors said on Monday.

The fire at the Tocuyito facility in Carabobo state overnight left nine men and eight women dead, the prosecutor's office said.

The cause of the fire was not given, pending a probe led by three investigators.

The injured are being treated at a hospital in Valencia, the capital of Carabobo state where the prison is located.

A National Penitentiaries Ministry source told Agence France-Presse the blaze was located in unit 1J and apparently caused by a short circuit.

Venezuela's crowded prisons are among Latin America's deadliest. Government plans to improve conditions have not been met, rights groups say.

Many prisoners awaiting trials see years go by before they come before a judge.

The Venezuelan Prisons Monitor, a non-governmental group, says that in 2014, 309 inmates, many never convicted of anything, were killed and another 179 were injured in prisons that it says are running at 170 percent of their capacity.