BOGOTA, Colombia — A fire at a prison in southwestern Colombia has killed at least 51 people and injured more than 20 others, authorities said Tuesday.

The director of the national prison system, Tito Castellanos, told Radio Caracol that it’s not clear if all of the dead were prisoners. He initially said 49 had died, but the Justice Ministry later raised the toll to 51.

He said the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday at the medium-security prison in the city of Tulua.

Inmates' relatives push police's shields outside a prison where there was a deadly fire in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 51 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Andres Quintero)
The President of Colombia has ordered investigations after a fire at a Colombian prison leaves 51 people dead.
AP
Inmates' relatives clash with police at the entrance of a prison where there was a deadly fire in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 51 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Andres Quintero)
Inmates’ relatives clash with police at the entrance of the prison where the deadly fire occurred in Tulua, Colombia on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
AP
Inmates' relatives wait for news of their loved ones outside a jail where there was a deadly fire in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 49 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Juan Jose Horta)
Inmates’ relatives wait for news of their loved ones outside the jail where the deadly fire occurred.
AP

But Justice Minister Wilson Ruiz said two inmates had a fight and one of them set fire to his mattress, starting the fire.

Ruiz added that more than 20 inmates were being treated for injuries in hospital, and said that two prison guards sustained minor injuries.

President Iván Duque expressed condolences to the families of those who died and said he had ordered investigations into the cause.

Forensic investigators stand by body bags after a deadly fire at a prison in Tulua, Colombia, Tuesday, June 28, 2022. Authorities say at least 49 people were killed after the fire broke out during what appeared to be an attempted riot early Tuesday. (AP Photo/Andres Quintero)
Forensic investigators stand by body bags after a deadly fire at a prison in Tulua, Colombia on June 28, 2022.
AP



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