Cameroon news outlet Barnebi.com is reporting on a major fire at New Bell prison in Douala, the largest city in the French-speaking West African nation.
Facebook user Martin Camus Mimb uploaded this video, which purpotedly shows the structure ablaze and billowing smoke.
Grave Incendie a la prison de New Bell à Douala. Environ 500 détenus se seraient déjà évadés
— Yves M. TIENTCHEU (@IvoMarchelo) September 12, 2015
The Newbell prison was constructed in 1935 for a prisoner population of 800 inmates but today counts more than 3,500 amid harrowing conditions, Voice of America reported. In 2005, a Cameroonian journalist working for the BBC in London described the situations in the prison as "hell on Earth." In 2008, Reuters reported prison guards killed 16 inmates who were attempting to escape.