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Immigration facility fire in border town kills at least 39, injures 29

David Peinado/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A fire at an immigration facility in Mexican border town Monday night left 39 migrants dead and 29 others injured, National Public Radio and other outlets reported.

"We join the pain of the relatives of migrants who lost their lives and those injured in a fire in Ciudad Juárez," said Ken Salazar, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, in a tweet in Spanish Tuesday morning.

"It is a reminder to the governments of the region of the importance of fixing a broken migration system and the risks of irregular migration."

The migrants set off the blaze themselves, according to Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, as the Wall Street Journal reported. Some detainees reportedly lit mattresses on fire in protest when they learned they were going to be deported.

"They didn’t imagine that it was going to cause this terrible tragedy," López Obrador said at a press conference.

An image from the scene shows what appears to be parking area with a line of bodies on the ground, each under a silver, metallic-looking sheet. The photo also shows what appear to be law enforcement or military officials dressed in fatigues, helmets, and other gear, some carrying long guns.

Ciudad Juárez, situated near the Rio Grande, is roughly eight miles southeast of El Paso, Texas. It is a major crossing point for migrants of many nationalities seeking entry into the United States.

The Ciudad Juárez facility held 68 men from Central and South America, the Associated Press reported. Many of those detainees may have been from Guatemala, an unnamed official told the outlet.

The National Migration Institute, Mexico's immigration regulatory office, said in a statement that a complaint has been filed so the cause of the fire can be investigated, Axios reported.

"This immigration authority will promptly monitor the evolution of the health status of those who are hospitalized and will provide full support to the families of the victims," the institute said in a statement acquired by the Texas Tribune.

"The National Institute of Migration strongly rejects the acts that led to this tragedy," the statement also said.

Francisco Garduño Yañez, Mexico's national immigration commissioner, is visiting victims in local hospitals, according to a Tuesday morning tweet from INM. The tweet includes photographs of some of the victims receiving treatment in the hospital for their injuries.

The fire is among the most lethal in recent history in Mexico, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Watch footage of the rescue efforts provided by the Rescue Team Ciudad Juárez to CNN-News 18 below.

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