A FIRE hit the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology-run Antipolo City Jail in Rizal province at around 7:45 p.m. Thursday killing an elderly inmate and injuring at least 23 others, authorities said yesterday.
The fire broke out at the jail’s Cell No. 10 and spread to nearby cells triggering panic among hundreds of prisoners cramped in the overcrowded detention facility which is adjacent to the Antipolo City Police Station.
Timely arrival of firefighters prevented the fire from razing the entire jail. Initially, investigators said that faulty electrical firing triggered the fire which was declared under control at 8:55 p.m.
Police Regional Office 4-A director, Chief Superintendent Edward E. Carranza said that they were checking reports that some of the prisoners managed to escape at the height of the fire.
However, he said that some of the prisoners were caught by responding policemen while those injured were taken to the nearest hospital for medical treatment.
Carranza said that the adjacent Antipolo City police lock-up facility was also immediately secured with all inmates fully accounted.
The official said that one prisoner who managed to escape at the height of the fire surrendered to BJMP authorities at 7 in the morning yesterday. Michael Zymon Dig, a man facing two counts of robbery, accompanied by his family, yielded to jail warden, Supt. Mirasol Vitor.
Carranza identified the lone prisoner who died as a result of the fire as 84-year old Cesar Organo. The octogenarian was facing a rape case.
He said that five of the 23 prisoners who were brought to the hospital for treatment remained under confinement while the rest were returned to their respective cells past midnight Thursday.
All the damaged cells are now undergoing rehabilitation while their occupants were transferred to the Cainta and Cardona Municipal Jails in Rizal for temporary safekeeping.
“We would like to assure the public that all of the detainees at Antipolo City Jail were locked inside their cells contrary to information of mass escape circulating on social media,” said the jail spokeman, Chief Inspector Xavier Solda.
He also expressed the BJMP’s support to the Antipolo City Police Office, the Bureau of Fire Protection in Antipolo City, the fire and rescue units of Antipolo City local government unit and barangay officials of Bgy. San Jose as well as other volunteers who assisted the Antipolo City Jail personnel in saving the lives of 1,471 prisoners during the incident.