At Least 68 Dead as Riot and Fire Engulf a Venezuela Police Station

Officials say 68 people are dead after a riot and fire erupted Wednesday night at a Venezuelan jail.

The blaze at the Valencia city police station’s lockup was reportedly sparked by prisoners setting mattresses alight in a jailbreak attempt. Many are believed to have asphyxiated due to smoke inhalation.

Nearly all the victims were inmates, Tarek Saab, the chief state prosecutor, revealed on Twitter. Two women visiting the station overnight also died.

He said four attorneys have been assigned to investigate the incident.

Families are demanding answers and justice amid one of the worst prison catastrophes to hit the nation, where penitentiary conditions have frequently been decried by human rights activists.

Photo: AP/ Juan Carlos Hernandez