A FIRE has killed 14 people trapped in a locked down drug rehabilitation centre with no means of escape.
"They have found 14 bodies and one person survived," said fire department spokeswoman Elena Cabello of the fire in Chosica, 30km east of Peru's capital Lima.
The blaze comes just three months after 29 people were killed in a fire at another drug rehabilitation center in Lima.
The latest fire broke in the early morning hours at the Sacred Heart of Jesus rehabilitation centre, which was housed in a two-story building, said Fernando Campos, the head of the firefighting unit on the scene.
"The doors were locked and the windows on the second floor had bars on them. It wasn't possible for people to get out," said Mr Campos.
He said 13 bodies were found on the second floor of the building and one on the first floor. The cause of the fire was unknown.
"I am alive thanks to God," said Luis Zeballo, the sole survivor of the disaster, who told reporters he smelled smoke early in morning while residents of the drug rehabilitation centre were sleeping.
Chosica Mayor Luis Bueno suggested that the fire may have been linked to a fight that reportedly had broken out earlier among the residents.
Mr Bueno said inspectors had been to the centre several months earlier, and had noted nothing unusual, but he said it was up to the Federal Government to better regulate the country's many private, often unlicensed drug rehabilitation centres.
Drug prevention group CEDRO says there are about 260 such centres around the country, but only 20 per cent of them are licensed and have personnel trained to deal with alcoholics and drug addicts.
State-run facilities have only 700 beds for an estimated 60,000 to 100,000 people dependent on drugs, according to CEDRO.
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