Prison fire to be re-enacted

Jan. 4, 2011 at 11:55 PM
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SANTIAGO, Chile, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Investigators in Chile say they hope a re-enactment of a deadly prison fire will throw some light on how it started and whether prison guards acted properly.

The re-enactment was scheduled for 3 a.m. Wednesday, the Santiago Times reported. That was when the fire at San Miguel Prison began Dec. 8.

Thirty relatives of the 81 men killed at the prison have filed legal papers seeking criminal charges for murder, negligent homicide or manslaughter against prison staff.

Winston Montes, the relatives' lawyers, said Chile's prison officials should have learned from a blaze in 2001 that killed 26 people and one in 2006 that killed nine.

"We consider what happened to be unprecedented in Chile and the issue is about managing and implementing policies," he said.

Montes said a report in 2008 found major shortcomings in San Miguel's emergency plan. But he said no action was taken.

The prison houses 1,900 inmates, about 800 above its original capacity.

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