A fire that broke out in a Honduras prison killed as many as 356 people and is now being called one of the deadliest prison fires in a century. The fire started when an inmate set fire to his bedding. It quickly spread and officials were unable to free the locked-in prisoners in time to save their lives.
Although prisons in the United States are required to have a means of releasing the inmates in such an emergency situation, such as a button that opens the cell doors all at once, many underdeveloped nations don't have such emergency precautions in place. Instead, at this particular prison, officials had to individually open cells. With the fire spreading rapidly in a matter of minutes, many cells weren't reached and prisoners had no means of escaping the flames.
Outraged by the overcrowding in the prisons, which certainly led to the high number of deaths, and the complete lack of emergency preparedness, the families of inmates have been rioting and protesting since the fire occurred.
Although the U.S. has emergency measures in place, overcrowding is still a serious problem in many state prisons, including in the state of Florida. According to the Florida Department of Corrections statistics, in 2011, Florida prisons had over 33,800 new admissions into the prison system. This put the total prison population in the state at over 100,000 inmates. Even with emergency procedures in place, a fire such as the one in Honduras, could still lead to unnecessary deaths based upon the sheer number of inmates crammed into a cell.