Investigators continue to search for answers in the prison fire that killed 358 inmates, as reports suggest that more than half of the inmates at the Comayagua prison had never been convicted, or even charged, with a crime. The farm-style camp in central Honduras held 856 prisoners despite being built to accommodate just 500, crammed into giant barracks with four-level bunk beds. Many were suspected gang members who had been swept up in a "law and order" push in what has become one of the world's most violent countries. The AP reports that according to Honduras' strict anti-gang laws, simply having the wrong tattoo is enough to get someone arrested and jailed.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated, but there are reports that an inmate managed to call the state governor, screaming that he would burn the prison down, shortly before setting his mattress on fire. After the fire initially started, guards refused to allow fire fighting crews in to the prison for nearly 30 minutes, because they believed that a riot was in progress. At the time the fire happened there were only 12 guards on duty who either didn't have for couldn't find keys to let prisoners out of their cells and rooms. A U.S. military outpost that includes search and rescue and fire teams sits just 15 minutes away, but was never called.