GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador - In a tragic incident that occurred on Saturday, a deadly blaze swept through a drug rehabilitation centre in Ecuador, killing at least 18 people.
Authorities in Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city said that the fiery blaze at a drug rehabilitation centre killed 18 people and left 12 others injured.
Local report in Ecuador initially claimed that 17 people were found dead inside the building, while another person died in the hospital.
A report in Radio Santafe claimed that the 17 victims found inside were locked inside a room of the rehab center building.
Subsequently, the Guayaquil Fire Department released a statement saying, "We regret the loss of 17 human lives in this tragedy, and we reject the negligence of the owners."
However, in a statement issued on Sunday, Tania Varela, the chief of police in the Guayaquil area said that the fire was started when patients set mattresses alight in a bid to try and escape.
Later in the day, the Province governor Raul Ledesma released details of the incident and said that the victims were aged between 30 and 40 years.
Reports quoted a survivor from the deadly blaze and said that the individual managed to survive by escaping after breaking down a wall of the building.
Officials said that about 12 people had suffered injuries and were rushed to nearby hospital with severe burns.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Ecuador's Vice President Otto Sonnenholzer said that authorities had been ordered to carry out a review of operating conditions for clinics as a result of the tragedy.
The Vice Mayor of Guayaquil, Domenica Tabacchi expressed solidarity with the families of the victims and said in a statement, "I deeply regret the tragedy that occurred today in the suburb of Guayaquil. My solidarity and support for the relatives of the victims killed in the fire."
Further, Ecuador's President, Lenin Moreno took to Twitter to comment on the incident and wrote, "My fraternal embrace and endearing solidarity with the relatives of the victims of the fatal fire in Guayaquil. Those responsible have already been arrested. We will not allow the death of innocents to remain unpunished."