Georgetown, Guyana. At least 19 children died in a “horrific” school dormitory fire in Guyana, which has shocked the nation and led to its president to declare three days of national mourning.
The fire that engulfed Mahdia Secondary School’s female dormitory killed 18 girls and a boy, according to Guyana’s Department of Public Information (DPI), revising down its earlier death toll of 20.
The 18 students were all indigenous girls aged 12 to 18 from remote villages served by the boarding school in Mahdia, a mining community near the Brazil border.
The remaining victim was the five-year-old son of the house mother.
Firefighters had to punch holes through the walls of a dormitory in Mahdia, Guyana, to rescue students trapped inside during a fire.
Investigators in Guyana believe a fire that killed 19 mostly girls trapped in a school dormitory late on Sunday was deliberately set by a student who was upset that her mobile phone was confiscated, a top official said Tuesday.
The devastating fire which ripped through the female dormitory at the Mahdia Secondary School after 10pm Monday at night.
The student suspected of starting the fire was upset after her phone was taken away over objections by the school that she was engaging in matters dangerous to her well-being with an adult. She had pledged to give “trouble” over the actions taken against her.
The student was seen by other students spraying a substance in the air and then igniting a fire. The fire was set to some mattresses just outside the bathroom area of the dormitory.
The suspect, who is among several injured people, had been disciplined by the dorm administrator for having an affair with an older man, National Security Adviser Gerald Gouveia said.
The student had allegedly threatened to torch the dorm and later set a fire in a bathroom area, Gouveia said.