Fire razes Guyana dormitory, killing at least 19 children, mainly Indigenous girls

An overnight fire raced through a dormitory in Guyana, killing at least 19 students who were trapped and injuring several others at a government boarding school as authorities probe whether it was intentionally set.

All but one of the victims were Indigenous girls, officials said Monday, the AP reported.

“This is a horrific incident. It’s tragic. It’s painful,” President Irfaan Ali said, adding that his government was mobilizing all possible resources as he requested help from the region to identify the remains of 13 bodies.

The fire broke out at about 10:50 p.m. Sunday in the dormitory building of a secondary school that serves remote, mostly Indigenous villages and is located in the border town of Mahdia, a gold and diamond mining community about 200 miles (320 kilometers) south of the capital, Georgetown, the government said in a statement.

Deputy Fire Chief Dwayne Scotland said “the fire was maliciously set” and began in the building’s southwest corner. However, Police Chief Clifton Hicken said “initial investigations suggest that it was maliciously set.” He also said that while the girls’ dorm had five doors, iron grill work trapped the students inside.

Authorities did not provide further details and did not share what evidence, if any, points to arson.

Source: Bahrain News Agency