Istanbul prison fire leaves 20 inmates, 1 guard hospitalized

Feb 3, 2022, 5:49 PM | Updated: Feb 4, 2022, 10:48 am

ISTANBUL (AP) — A fire broke out at a prison in Istanbul on Friday, leaving 20 inmates and one prison warden hospitalized for smoke inhalation, Turkey’s justice minister said.

There was no information on the cause of the blaze in Umraniye prison, on the Asian side of the city.

Prison inmates in Turkey have set mattresses and other bedding alight in the past to protest detention conditions.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Twitter that the fire was extinguished and none of those hospitalized were in serious condition.

“Everything has been brought under control,” he said.

Several firetrucks, including from neighboring districts, were dispatched to the prison, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

According to HaberTurk broadcaster, prison personnel initially tried to douse a fire that broke out in one of the wards, but were forced to call firefighters after it grew out of their control. The inmates were evacuated to another confinement area, it said.

Prisoners’ relatives and friends gathered at the entry to the prison for news of their loved ones, HaberTurk reported.

The prison has a capacity to hold 1,000 inmates, according to its website.

Video footage from the private DHA news agency showed at least two ambulances and a prison transport vehicle enter the gates of the prison compound as gray smoke was seen billowing from behind a building.

It also showed a firefighter using a water cannon at the top of a crane to douse the fire.

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Istanbul prison fire leaves 20 inmates, 1 guard hospitalized