Latin America & Caribbean

Peru drug rehabilitation clinic fire kills 14

Police officers at the site of the fire at the Sacred Heart of Jesus clinic in Chosica, Peru.
Image caption The doors were locked and the windows had bars, firefighters said

A fire at a drug rehabilitation centre in the Peruvian capital Lima has killed 14 people - the second such tragedy there this year.

The blaze broke out at the Sacred Heart of Jesus centre in Chosica in eastern Lima in the early hours of the morning.

Firefighters said patients could not escape because the doors were locked and the windows barred.

In January a fire at another drug and alcohol clinic in Lima killed 29 people who were also locked inside.

Fire chief Fernando Campos said firefighters had to use tools to break into the two-storey building.

"The doors were locked and the windows on the second floor had bars on them. It wasn't possible for people to get out," he said.

At least one person managed to escape despite suffering burns.

The cause of the fire has not yet been established.

The fire in January at the unlicensed Christ is Love clinic in Lima - where 29 people died - prompted calls for for better regulation of rehabilitation centres.

Often run by church groups, unlicensed clinics have sprung up to make up for a shortage of official facilities to help an estimated 100,000 addicts in need of treatment across Peru.

Some are said to lock patients inside to stop them leaving after they are brought in by relatives desperate to free them of their addictions.

Peru's Health Ministry has been working on new regulations for rehabilitation clinics.

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