Using tragedy to your advantage

You must remember this tragic story from last week?

Honduras Prison Fire Kills At Least 300 Inmates

You do? Well what could have caused such a terrible conflagration that took so many lives?

BBC News My emphasis

Some survivors told investigators that an inmate started the blaze by setting fire to his mattress.

The Huffington Post

The local governor, a former prison employee, told reporters that an inmate called her moments before the fire and said he was going to set the facility on fire and kill everyone inside.

Survivors told investigators that an unidentified inmate screamed “We will all die here!” as he lit fire to his bedding late Tuesday night in the prison […]

The blaze spread within minutes, killing about 100 inmates in their cells as firefighters struggled to find officials who had keys, Comayagua fire department spokesman Josue Garcia said.

Of course. Only a seriously disaffected prisoner with a lot of accelerants could start such a rapid and devastating blaze, correct?
Of course not! It was started by a discarded cigarette.
Honduras’ Comayagua jail fire ’caused by cigarette’
I shit you not!

A prison fire in Honduras that killed 360 inmates may have been started by a discarded cigarette, officials say.

I know discarded cigarettes have been known to start fires, particularly when someone falls asleep smoking one, but to suggest a fag end would have the chance to cause such destruction from a prison cell is pushing the realms of possibility.

I know we like to blame cigarettes of every little possible problem, but I didn’t think they were like that all the way over in Honduras.

Foreign experts have been brought in to help establish the cause


investigators had been told by witnesses that a prisoner fell asleep while smoking.
Mr Rubi said experts from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives supported the accident theory.

Yeah. And my Grandma disappeared while flying solo across the Atlantic.

I pointed out another sad story of a chap who set fire to himself while smoking last week, this time in his car. I said we should expect to be seeing many more such stories as the bansturbators try desperately to get smoking banned in cars.

However I did not see this coming.

I suppose now we have to ban smoking in all prisons. Never mind that Honduaras has a serious problem with prison overcrowding and conditions – some spiteful people don’t like anyone to be allowed to smoke.

14 comments for “Using tragedy to your advantage

  1. Junican
    February 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Funnily enough, for other reasons, I have been investigating the fire resistant properties of mattresses over the last couple of days. It seems that prison mattresses (along with mental hospitals and some others) are considered to have the highest level of risk (people locked up) and therefore must have the highest possible flame/cigarette resistance, along with the bedding and prisoners’ clothing. The chances of a cigarette being involved are almost non-existent.

    More half-truths, downright lies and mis-information from ASH ET AL.

    • February 23, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      It makes a lot of sense that such items would be extremely fireretardant. The fact that such preposterous conclusions can be aired in public just goes to show how far tobacco control has maanged to braiwnash the public against smokers and tobacco. The world over

  2. Monty
    February 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    The discarded cigarette seems much too far fetched as a source of such a raging fire. Even if the mattresses were filled with straw, the place was occupied and the other inmates would have stamped out any embers entering through the bars of their cells.

    Prisons are not commonly timber constructions. Stone, steel, concrete are used to keep the inmates in. My sneaking suspicion is maybe the prisoners were operating a still, or cooking up narcotics. Either process commonly requires very volatile flammable liquids and vapours, capable of causing a fierce conflagration. And the prison authorities would be hell bent on covering that up, because they should never have allowed that to go on inside a prison.

    • February 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      That’s possible and a good reason for a cover up. It’s a pity that a ‘discarded cigarette’ can be beleived as an answer for the hard of thinking

  3. February 23, 2012 at 7:42 am

    A bit like the fire underneath the M1 motorway which “may” have been started by a cigarette?



    Further, a pedant informs me that “may” is incorrect in that context, they actually mean “might”.

    • February 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm

      Yes, a cigarette is the easy answer. Until the truth becomes apparent.
      May/Might? Hmm, does that apply the same for, “billions of smokers ‘may’ die of big toe cancer, experts say”?

  4. nisakiman
    February 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Have you ever tried to set something alight with a cigarette? It’s nigh on bloody impossible.

    • February 23, 2012 at 8:09 pm

      I’ve flicked a fag end out of the car window, only to have it come back in and land on the back seat.
      I’ve also dropped a fag end on a t-shirt while chilling on a sun lounger.
      Both went out and left no more than a small hole in the fabric

      • February 24, 2012 at 5:49 am

        Didn’t one of those science shows try the old movie trick of igniting a pool of petrol with a flicked match, and find it nearly impossible? I want to say ‘Penn and Teller’, but can’t remember if it was or not…

        • February 24, 2012 at 7:38 am

          I can’t remember which one either but you’re right, the match just goes out

  5. nemesis
    February 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    A freind of mine recently commented that her cigarettes started to go out of their own volition when left only for a few seconds. She contacted the ciggie company who said that they had to comply with a new directive to make ciggies go out for safety reasons. Can anyone verify this?

    • February 24, 2012 at 5:50 am
    • February 24, 2012 at 7:41 am

      Low Ignition Propensity cigarettes. They were quietly phased in not so long ago.
      I had heard that they taste pretty foul. Did she mention any difference in flavour?

    • Stan Mann
      February 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      Roll-up tobacco, mainstay of British prisons, has always been like that, they go out if you don’t keep puffing so you have to relight – a feature, I always thought, you can save it till later. I always put this down to the lack of additives to paper and or tobacco that seems to keep factory-made cigarettes burning in the ashtray if you lay them aside (saltpetre, I was once told, presumably so as to hasten the purchase of the next pack) Then again, it depends on local conditions – were these inmates smoking factory fags or such exotic jail specialities as the mattress straw in bible-page roll-up ?

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