Fire That Killed 40 Was Started as Protest

Video shows guards at Mexican migrant facility walked away after mattresses were set on fire
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 28, 2023 6:46 AM CDT
Updated Mar 28, 2023 6:27 PM CDT
Fire at Migrant Center in Mexico Leaves 39 Dead
Image taken from video shows ambulances and rescue teams outside an immigration center in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Tuesday, March 28, 2023.   (AP Photo)
UPDATE Mar 28, 2023 6:27 PM CDT

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the fire that killed 40 people and injured 29 others at a detention center near the US border Monday night was started by migrants in protest after learning they would be deported. "They never imagined that this would cause this terrible misfortune,” López Obrador said Tuesday. Surveillance video shows that after men placed mattresses against the bars of their detention cell and set them on fire, guards quickly walked away and made no apparent attempt to release the men before smoke filled the room, the AP reports. At the time of the blaze, 68 men from Central and South America were being held at the Ciudad Juarez facility, authorities say.

Mar 28, 2023 6:46 AM CDT

A fire broke out late Monday at an immigration detention center in northern Mexico near the US border, leaving more than three dozen migrants dead, a Mexican official said Tuesday. Hours after the fire broke out, rows of bodies were laid out under sheets outside the facility in Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas. Ambulances, firefighters, and vans from the morgue swarmed the scene. Thirty-nine people died and 29 were injured, according to an official with the National Immigration Institute.

Ciudad Juarez is a major crossing point for migrants entering the United States. Its shelters are full of migrants waiting for opportunities to cross or who have requested asylum in the United States and are waiting out the process. Mexico’s attorney general’s office has launched an inquiry and has investigators at the scene, according to media reports. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, per NBC News. The facility where the fire broke out is near the Santa Fe International Bridge.

(Read more US-Mexico border stories.)

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