A fire at a migrant center in Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua, Mexico), has left at least 40 people dead and 29 injured, according to Mexico's National Migration Institute (NMI). There were 68 male immigrants from Central and South America in the building when the blaze started on Monday night. The injured, who are in "serious-delicate condition," have been transferred to four local hospitals for immediate care:
#Comunicado 🗞️| @INAMI_mx lamenta el fallecimiento de 39 personas migrantes extranjeras, derivado de un incendio que se originó poco antes de las 22:00 hrs del lunes en el área de alojamiento de la Estancia Provisional de Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua. https://t.co/NCe0yExH9T pic.twitter.com/vhT9cgXzsq
— INM (@INAMI_mx) March 28, 2023
Early images from the scene, provided by AP, showed rows of bodies lying under blankets outside the facility in Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican town across from El Paso, Texas, as several ambulances, fire trucks and morgue vans arrived on the scene.
Un incendio en la estación del @INAMI_mx de Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, deja al menos 37 muertos, según información extraoficial. De acuerdo a los primeros datos, el siniestro se habría registrado por fricciones entre migrantes y personal del instituto. https://t.co/2baF4ZNP3w pic.twitter.com/b006Xc5vTq
— La Jornada (@lajornadaonline) March 28, 2023
The fire, reports Diario de Juarez, may have been started by several immigrants who were in the detention center. The Mexican media La Jornada reported that the fire may have originated due to "friction between migrants and the institute's personnel." The National Migration Institute did not confirm this information, although the Mexican Government stated in its press release, that "the National Migration Institute strongly rejects the acts that led to this tragedy."
What NMI did assure is that it has filed a lawsuit to investigate the facts of what caused the fire and will "act accordingly." In addition, "the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) was notified to intervene in the legal proceedings and to safeguard the foreigners."