EIGHTEEN girls and one boy were killed in a fire at a secondary school dormitory in Guyana, shortly before midnight on Sunday.
The girls were students of the Mahdia Secondary School who lived on the compound in a dormitory. The boy, Adonijah Jerome who was five year old and the youngest of the victims, lived in an apartment next to the dormitory with his parents, who were the caretakers.
The building was “completely engulfed in flames” by the time firefighters arrived around midnight, the Fire Service said.
Fourteen children died at the scene and another five in hospital. Six injured children were airlifted to the capital, Georgetown, while at least 17 others were admitted to a local hospital.
“Initial investigations suggest that the fire was maliciously set and our investigations are continuing,” police commissioner Clifton Hicken said during a press conference.
Most of the 19 children who died were Indigenous, Mark Ramotar, the director of the police communications department said on Monday. “The dorm usually houses students from Indigenous communities,” he noted.