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Fire kills 39 in Mexican immigration detention facility

Viangly, a Venezuelan migrant, reacts outside an ambulance for her injured husband Eduard Caraballo while Mexican authorities and firefighters remove injured migrants, mostly Venezuelans, from inside the National Migration Institute (INM) building during a fire, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico March 27, 2023. Photo: Reuters

A fire outbreak has killed at least 39 people at an Immigration detention facility in Northern Mexico near the United States border.

Twenty-eight of the dead were Guatemalans, the national migration institute said.

The incident occured late on Monday at the facility in Ciudad Juarez.

The facility was holding 68 adult men from Central and South America, it said.

29 others who sustained various degrees of injury were rushed to the hospital, Mexico’s National Immigration Institute confirmed in a statement.

“I was here since one in the afternoon waiting for the father of my children, and when 10pm rolled around smoke started coming out from everywhere,” 31-year-old Viangly Infante, a Venezuelan national, told the Reuters news agency.

Her husband was in a holding cell inside the facility when the fire started and survived by dousing himself in water and pressing against a door, said Infante, adding that she saw many dead bodies lying on the ground.

Mexico’s President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said the fire began during a protest by the migrants inside the facility.

“They never imagined that this would cause this terrible misfortune,” López Obrador said.

Writing by Muzha Kucha