A relative of an inmate cries Feb. 16 outside the prison in Comayagua, Honduras, where a massive fire Feb. 14 killed more than 350 inmates.

February 27, 2012

The Diocese of Comayagua is working with prison authorities to try to help survivors of one of the world's deadliest prison fires.

Bishop Roberto Camilleri of Comayagua, where more than 350 people died overnight Feb. 14, said he visited with survivors and took them water.

"It was sad to see scorched bodies lying on each other," Camilleri said.

The bishop and the prison chaplain, Father Reinaldo Moncada, told Catholic News Service the prison was overcrowded – it was designed for 250 people and was holding more than 850.

Moncada said conditions in the prison were "inhumane."

Local media reported Honduran officials who said the fire was possibly caused by a short circuit or a prisoner lighting a mattress on fire.

A spokesman for local firefighters spoke of being unable to rescue prisoners because his workers could not locate guards with keys to the cells.

Outside the prison, police clashed with Hondurans who tried to enter to rescue family members.