COMAYAGUA, Honduras — Two of the bodies were found facing one another in a large sink, their remains completely blackened. Others were squished together in the prison bathroom where they had sought refuge from the flames, their bodies an indistinguishable mass.
If not for a split-second decision, Hector Daniel Martinez could have also died horrifically in the deadliest prison fire in at least a century.
When the flames started in the prison farm north of the capital of Tegucigalpa, Martinez had been asleep in a small metal bed, one of dozens stacked so high in a narrow barrack that they nearly touched the roof. The fire raced above Martinez’s head, and he could hear the screams of prisoners.
Martinez ran toward the barrack’s only entrance. The door was locked. Most of the other 135 prisoners in the room ran toward the other end, where there was a bathroom with water and sinks.
It turned out to be a fatal choice for the others. Martinez survived after a nurse came with the keys and opened the door. He was only one of 28 inside the barrack who did.
“One hundred and seven are dead,” he said, his face conveying little emotion, as if a toll too difficult to believe.
From: ‘Horror, Mercy Marked Honduras Prison Fire’
By CHRISTINE ARMARIO, Associated Press