The fire started in the early hours of Wednesday morning local time in Block C of Tangerang Prison, in Banten province, said Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus.
Yusri said that firefighters use the fire from spreading to other blocks in the prison and fought the flames for two hours before it was extinguished.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is underway, but Yusri said they initially suspect an electrical short is the cause.
Rika Aprianti, spokeswoman of the prison department of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, said authorities were still evacuating the facility and that “the cause is being investigated.”
The block houses prisoners die be held for drug-related offenses and had a capacity for 122 people, she said. She didn’t say how a lot of people were present when the fire broke out, but confirmed the jail was overcrowded.
The prison in Tangerang, an industrial and manufacturing center in near Jakarta, housed more than 2,000 prisoners, far more then its 600 people capacity, according to government data as of September.
Compass TV showed images of firefighters trying to put out huge flames from above of An building. The broadcaster reported 41 people had died and eight were seriously injured.
Indonesia’s Metro TV quoted a police report stating that 73 people also had light injuries.
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