At least 17 people have died and 12 others have been injured in a fire at a drug rehabilitation clinic in Ecuador, authorities have said.
Officials said the blaze took hold after patients set mattresses on fire in a bid to escape the facility in Guayaquil – the country’s biggest city.
Police chief Tania Varela said the centre lacked the necessary permits required to operate. Makeshift treatment facilities are common in the South American nation.
In a statement, the Guayaquil fire department said: “We regret the loss of 17 human lives in this tragedy, and we reject the negligence of the owners.”
Officers are hoping to question the owners and operators of the rehabilitation facility.