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17 dead, 11 injured after fire rips through overcrowded Venezuelan prison

A fire ripped through an overcrowded Venezuelan prison Monday, killing 17 and injuring 11. Google Earth

CARACAS, Venezuela – Authorities in Venezuela say 17 people were killed and 11 injured when a fire ripped through an overcrowded prison.

The chief prosecutor’s office said in a statement that the cause of Monday’s blaze at the prison known as Tocuyito is still being investigated.

Venezuela’s prison population has doubled since 2008. The non-profit Venezuelan Prison Observatory said the facility near the city of Valencia where the blaze took place was built for 900 inmates but houses three times that amount.

Among the dead were both inmates and visitors, according to the Prison Observatory.

The prisons ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In November, at least 35 prisoners died during what authorities described as a mass overdose triggered by a riot at a separate facility.

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