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At least 13 dead in Honduran prison fire

From Elvin Sandoval, For CNN
March 30, 2012 -- Updated 0932 GMT (1732 HKT)
  • One of the dead was decapitated, a fire official says
  • A fire at a different Honduran prison last month killed 358 people
  • The cause of the fire at the prison in San Pedro Sula was not immediately known

Tegucigalpa, Honduras (CNN) -- At least 13 people died Thursday in a fire at a prison in northern Honduras, a fire official said.

Among the dead was a prisoner who was decapitated, a fire official told reporters. Video shot at the scene showed thick clouds of smoke billowing from the building.

The incident comes on the heels of another prison fire in Honduras that killed more than 350 people last month.

The cause of the fire at the prison in San Pedro Sula was not immediately known. Police Chief Ricardo Ramirez said shots had been heard from inside.

A fire last month in the central Honduran town of Comayagua killed 358 inmates. Two previous deadly prison fires have occurred in San Pedro Sula. In 2009, 103 people were reported killed and in 2004, 107 died.

Honduran prisons have been criticized for being overcrowded places with poor conditions. The International Centre for Prison Studies, citing February 2010 figures, said that the country's prisons were operating at 137.9% of capacity.

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