Angry student behind Guyana school dormitory blaze that killed 19
19 people – mostly indigenous girls – were killed and numerous others injured in a deadly fire at a school dormitory in Guyana in the early hours of Monday. A student who was angry her mobile phone had been confiscated appears to have started the blaze, officials say.
The teenage suspect has reportedly admitted to the crime and is currently undergoing treatment in hospital for burns. The girl is accused of threatening her attack after being disciplined for having a relationship with an older man, the Associated Press reported.
Authorities are currently taking advice on whether the suspect should be criminally charged, the AFP News Agency cited a government source as saying.
President Irfaan Ali had earlier labelled the fire a “major disaster”. According to local media reports, the blaze was so intense that DNA testing was necessary to identify some victims.
Some of the students got trapped in the fire as the dormitory was reportedly locked and had covered windows. The bathroom area was initially torched. Eventually, the fire tore through the entire building, which was partially made of wood and was housing 57 children at the time.
In her state of panic, the dorm administrator reportedly failed to locate the keys to unlock the door. It has emerged that firefighters had to smash through the walls to evacuate some people. But bad weather conditions had initially caused them significant trouble in containing the fire.
Survivors of the deadly dorm blaze in the central town of Mahdia spoke of being woken up in the middle of the night by screams. Some of the victims were taken to a hospital in the capital Georgetown with life-threatening injuries.
Guyana is located on the northern coast of South America between Venezuela and Suriname.