At least 19 students~, were killed and numerous more were hurt after a fire swept through a dormitory in Guyana overnight. Authorities are now looking into whether the fire was deliberately started. According to officials, all but one of the victims were Indigenous females.
According to a statement from the government, the fire started around 10:50 p.m. on Sunday in the dormitory building of a secondary school that serves isolated, mostly Indigenous villages and is situated in Mahdia, a border town and gold and diamond mining community about 200 miles (320 kilometers) south of Georgetown.
Dwayne Scotland, a deputy fire chief, claimed that “the fire was maliciously set” and that it started in the southwest quadrant of the structure. Police Chief Clifton Hicken, however, said that “initial investigations suggest that it was maliciously set.” He added that despite the ladies’ dorm having five doors, the pupils were confined inside due to iron grill work.
Authorities had no additional information and did not provide any evidence, if any, that the fire was intentionally set. It’s a terrible thing that happened. It’s terrible. It’s painful,” President Irfaan Ali said, adding that his government was putting all available resources to use and pleading with the area for assistance in locating the 13 bodies’ remains. “As president, today is the most depressing day of my life. I regret that it happened,” Ali remarked.
The dorm typically houses 59 females, but when the fire started, only 56 were there since three had gone home for the weekend. According to the administration, five people died at Mahdia Hospital, while 13 girls and a young boy perished at the hostel. According to officials, 17 injured people are still being treated at Mahdia Hospital while six children were transferred to Georgetown. Four children had significant injuries, according to officials, and two youngsters remain in critical condition. By making holes in the building’s northeastern side, firefighters were able to rescue about 20 pupils, the fire department reported.
Officials initially reported 20 students dead, but later revised the number to 19, with several more people hurt. According to National Security Advisor Gerald Gouveia, the estimate was changed after medical professionals saved the life of a critically ill patient who “everyone thought was dead.” According to a statement from Guyana’s Fire Service, the building was already entirely engulfed in flames when firefighters got on the site. We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those innocent children.
Gouveia noted that the institution mostly enrolls Indigenous students between the ages of 12 and 18. He added that it was too early to speculate about what might have started the fire and that the area’s frequent thunderstorms made it difficult for those responding by air. The government and first responders, he continued, “made a gigantic effort” to save as many people as they could. He stated, “I can’t even begin to understand the parents’ suffering right now. “This is a serious catastrophe.” Natasha Singh-Lewis, an opposition politician, stated that “we need to understand how this most horrific and deadly incident occurred and take all necessary measures to prevent such a tragedy from happening again in the future.” It was a struggle for us, he admitted. “The pilots were extremely brave and tenacious.”
According to Ali, authorities were getting in touch with parents and enlisting psychiatrists to assist individuals impacted by the fire.The opposition party, APNU+AFC, released a statement thanking the locals for helping police rescue the imprisoned youngsters and pledging to pursue a thorough inquiry.
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