(COMAYAGUA, Honduras) — A Honduran prisoner bent on mass murder wound up killing more than 356 other inmates at a dilapidated jail in Comayagua Wednesday.
Authorities in Honduras said that inmates could be heard screaming for help as a mattress that was set on fire quickly spread flames throughout the prison built in the 1940s. As many as 475 prisoners were able to get out of the inferno in what was described as one of the deadliest prison fires to take place in 100 years.
There was a report that the inmate who touched off the blaze shouted that he was going to kill everyone inside the jail.
It took only five minutes for the entire facility to go up in flames, making it impossible to save those trapped inside.
The situation became more chaotic afterwards when prison guards fired tear gas at family members who went to the prison to retrieve their relatives’ remains.
According to officials, the prison in Comayagua housed violent criminals, including those convicted of homicide and armed robberies.
There have been other instances of deadly prison fires in Honduras, including one in 2004 that left more 100 inmates dead north of the capital of Tegucigalpa.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Mohammed Tawfeeq and Gul Tuysuz, CNN
Steve Almasy, CNN
Emanuella Grinberg, CNN
Dave Gilbert, CNN