Angry student suspected of starting Guyana school dorm fire

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Angry student suspected of starting Guyana school dorm fire

A female student who was angry over her mobile phone being confiscated by a teacher is suspected to have started the deadly fire that ripped through a school dormitory in Guyana earlier this week, killing 19 children, police said.
 

Georgetown: A female student who was angry over her mobile phone being confiscated by a teacher is suspected to have started the deadly fire that ripped through a school dormitory in Guyana earlier this week, killing 19 children, police said.

The fire occurred at around 11.40 p.m. on Sunday night at the Mahdia Secondary School in central Guyana. President Mohamed Ifran Ali had deemed the incident a “major disaster”.

The victims comprised 18 female students and a minor boy.

In a statement on Tuesday, the police said that “investigations so far into Sunday night’s deadly fire at Mahdia, which claimed the lives of 19 persons, reveal that a female student is suspected of having set the devastating fire because her cellular phone was taken away by the dorm’s mother and a teacher”, CNN reported.

Initially, firefighting officials and the police had indicated that the blaze could have been “maliciously set”.

When the firefighters first reached the spot on Sunday night, the building was already engulfed in flames, but they still managed to rescue some 20 students by breaking down a part of the building’s wall.

The fire began while students were asleep in the dormitory, CNN quoted the police statement issued on Tuesday as saying.

“They (students) saw fire/smoke in the bathroom area, which quickly spread in the building, causing several students to receive burns to their bodies and smoke inhalation,” it added.

At the time of the fire, there were 57 female students in the dormitory.

According to the local media, the fire was so severe that DNA testing was required to identify some victims, the BBC reported.

The school had also housed students from indigenous communities.

President Ali has declared three days of national mourning.


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