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Honduras Prison Fire — A Personal Reflection

Posted by on March 7, 2012

Whether a person is in an office building, their home, or in a cell, the last place they want to be is trapped in a confined space during any life threatening emergency. This is why, from a very young age, we all prepare for emergency evacuations. So whether we are alone or with 500 other people, we can all get outside to safety. In the case of the Honduras prison fire, were there no plans as all buildings should have, regardless of the persons located therein?

Fire is one of the scariest emergencies to be in because it engulfs so many senses: sight, smell, and touch. You have to move quickly, and the prisoners could only react and move as fast as the prison’€™s plan for emergency exit would allow. I speak from relative experience because during college, my roommates did not know that I was home, asleep, when the fire alarm went off. When the beeping finally woke me, no one was in any of the rooms on the hallway; it felt like a bad dream. Upon entering the emergency exit stairwell, it was filled with smoke because the blaze was one floor below. Unable to see if it was safe to go all the way down, I stayed low, trebling and squinting to see, but I made it out, alone.

Regardless of the crimes the Honduras prisoners committed, the consensus is that not being able to save your own life, in one of the scariest moments of it, is unthinkable. It is reported that 358 prisoners were killed and several injured in the Honduras prison fire. The men who survived had to hear the other inmates who could not get out as they burned to death. Yes, these men were prisoners for crimes they were convicted of committing, but imprisonment was their sentencing, not execution by fire. This saddening story is a reminder to keep alert and maintain home fire safety at all times.

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