fire that claimed 359 lives last week in a prison in central Honduras "was
merely an accidental occurrence and not caused by criminal hands", the
country's attorney general said on Tuesday.
Luis Rubi said that
authorities had ruled out the possibility that gasoline was used to start
the fire, as had been reported by some media outlets citing unnamed
In an interview with Televicentro television, the
attorney general said that none of the more than 200 autopsies performed
by Tuesday had revealed bullet wounds on any of the victims, something
else that contradicts press accounts contending that guards at the
Comayagua prison farm had fired on the prisoners during the incident.
said that those initial conclusions had resulted from the investigation
being conducted by his office and a group of experts from the US Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who arrived in Honduras two
days after the fire at the request of President Porfirio Lobo's
"We're awaiting the reports so that we may have a
really exact version of what happened," the attorney general said. The
complete report of the worst prison tragedy in Honduran history will be
ready in two weeks, Rubi said. The fire at the Comayagua prison, located
about 80 km from Tegucigalpa, began late on the night of Feb 14.
of relatives of the victims have stationed themselves outside the medical
examiner's office in the capital waiting for the remains of their loved
ones to be turned over to them. Some 25 forensic experts from Honduras,
Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru are working to identify the
bodies, some of which are so badly charred that DNA testing is being
relied upon to get positive IDs, according to the official report.