Authorities in Mexico said that eight employees are being investigated for possible homicide after a fire at a migrant detention centre killed 39 detainees earlier this week.
The fire broke out inside the National Migration Institute in Ciudad Juarez, across from the US-Mexico border near El Paso, Texas, shortly before 10pm on 27 March, according to Mexico’s National Immigration Institute.
The blaze killed at least 39 people and left another 29 injured.
Federal public safety secretary Rosa Icela Rodríguez said that five of those under investigation for possible misconduct are private security guards, two are federal immigration agents and one is a Chihuahua state officer, reported Associated Press.
Prosecutors said on Wednesday they were investigating the incident as a possible homicide.
“Who didn’t let these people out? Clearly there is a serious crime,” Ms Rodriguez was quoted as saying by Reuters.
“They weren’t capable of opening a gate.”
She added that emergency protocols and whether the private security company was properly trained, would be examined.
While no charges have been announced, authorities said that they would seek at least four arrest warrants including one for a migrant who was part of what they described as a small group that started the fire.
Authorities also said that a migrant also damaged a security camera inside the cell where the fire occurred.
Almost all of the detainees were from Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela and El Salvadore.
The fire started on Monday at the detention centre after a group of detained migrants set fire to foam mattresses, to protest what they thought were plans to move or deport them.
Mexico’s president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday that both immigration agents and security guards from a private contractor were present at the facility.
Also on Wednesday, Ciudad Juarez mayor Cruz Pérez Cuellar said that his government shared no responsibility for what happened.
“It’s a terrible tragedy that pains all of us. We are grieving,” he said.
He added that authorities should “come down with the full weight of the law on those responsible, the people that, for instance, didn’t open the doors for the migrants”.