Saturday, October 6, 2012


10 Tragic Prison and Asylum Fires

While fire is something that has proven to be something very useful to mankind over the years being one of the greatest discoveries, it is potentially a hazard. It’s like a caged demon waiting to be set free so it can render everything to dust and ashes. There have been many dangerous fires throughout our history and has taken many lives but that’s just because of carelessness and well, nature did have a role in forest fires too. Anyway, this list talks about cruel fires in different prisons and asylums throughout the world. Tragic as it may sound, it still holds true. I hope this particular list proves useful and educative to you folks.


The prison is located in Higuey in Dominican Republic. The prison was built to hold 180 prisoners but it would usually hold 400. There was a riot on the morning of 7th March in 2005. The fight started in one of the wings between two different prison gangs. The guards were unable to control the riot. One of the inmates set a mattress on fire to keep the guards away. The smoke and the fire killed around 134 people and another 26 were injured. Only 20 people in the cellblock survived the fire.


County Hatch Lunatic Asylum - Ten Tragic Prison and Asylum Fires
It was one of the earliest psychiatric prisons in London, England. It was huge with a capacity to hold 3,500 inmates. At 5:30 PM on the 7th day of January in 1903 a fire alarm was sounded. People rushed to the streets of London and they could see the huge fire that had started. A total of five different wards were destroyed and there were a total of 600 Jewish women in those wards. Many managed to escape with the death toll rising to 52 people. Fear engulfed the streets of London since they thought that lunatics have escaped and they are now roaming free.


Oakley Training School - Ten Tragic Prison and Asylum Fires
This particular place is juvenile correctional facility. It is located near Raymond, Mississippi. It has a capacity of 150 students today. It is uncertain exactly how the fire started. The prison itself had no fire apparatus to fight the fire. 35 prisoners had died by the time the fire was killed and all of them were African American. Local farmers in the area helped put out the fire since the prison itself was had no such capabilities.


Maury County Jail - Ten Tragic Prison and Asylum Fires
It is located in the center of Columbia Tennessee. It caught fire on the 26th June, 1977 and that happened during visitor’s hour. After the fire was over around 33 inmates had died and it killed another 9 visitors. It was a modern, fire-resistant prison but there were no fire alarms or sprinklers or anything. There was a prisoner in the ‘drunk tank’ when he asked a visitor for a cigarette. He gave him one, along with a lit cigarette in order for him to light it. At 1:30 PM, the fire started.


Saint John City Prison - Ten Tragic Prison and Asylum Fires
The fire took place on 21st June in the year 1977. Imagine a fire in a 16-storey high building. The building also had city and municipal offices. The building had a padded ‘drunk tank’ and that’s where the fire originally started. A prisoner was placed in the ‘drunk tank’ and soon thereafter a fire began. No one knows how the fire was actually started. The fire was not big, it was small and was quickly extinguished but when all was over, it was found that 21 inmates had died.


Seacliff Lunatic Asylum - Ten Tragic Prison and Asylum Fires
It was the largest of its kind in New Zealand in the 1800s. The asylum was built to handle 500 patients with 50 staff. At 9:45 PM, on 8th December in 1942, a fire broke out in Ward 5. It held 39 to 41 female patients. The fire did not spread throughout the asylum although all the women that were held in Ward 5 gave their lives to this fire, may their souls rest in peace.


San Pedro Sula Prison Fire - Ten Tragic Prison and Asylum Fires
The fire took place in the country of Honduras. It happened on 17th May in the year 2004. The fire killed 103 prisoners. A year earlier in April 2003 there was another fire in Honduras at the El Porvenir Prison killing 86 prisoners. The number one ranked fire in this list also happened in the country of Honduras. San Pedro Sula is the second largest city in the country and is the economic center. It is said that the refrigerator was short circuited by gang members. The prison was holding 2,000 prisoners when it was designed to hold only 800.


Longue Pointe Asylum - Ten Tragic Prison and Asylum Fires
This place was a nightmare and was established in 1873. It was one of Canada’s largest at that time was operated by Catholic nuns. It held 1,500 hundred inmates when the fire started on the 6th May, 1873 at 11:30 PM. It is thought that a female inmate set fire to the building considering the fact that she tried to put herself on fire before. 94 women died because of the incident and four Sister of Providence nuns also got caught in the accident.


Ohio State - Ten Tragic Prison and Asylum Fires
This happens to be the worst fire in the history of US prison fires. It happened on the 21st April in the year 1930. 322 were killed in this fire. The prison was designed to hold 1,500 prisoners and at the time of the accident the cells were holding 4,300 prisoners. The prison was going through some modifications in order to hold the increased number of prisoners and that is what caused the fire. The fire started at around 5:00 PM. It is a possibility that a prisoner working on the modification set the fire on purpose but nobody knows.


Comayagua Prison - Ten Tragic Prison and Asylum Fires
Situated in Comayagua, Honduras, this place ranks number one on this list. The fire took place on 15th February this year. What you should know is that Honduras has the highest murder rate (80 in 100,000 people). At 11:00 PM on the date of accident, a prison inmate set his bed on fire. From that bed the fire spread throughout the prison. It is thought that around 358 died in the fire and another 100 escaped. Family members seem to think that the fire was started by the government and that the inmate had nothing to do with it.


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