Teenage girl sets school on fire, kills 19 students over seized phone
The dormitory fire that killed 19 children in Guyana was started by a teen who was upset that her cell phone had been confiscated, according to officials.
On Sunday night, a fire broke out at the Mahdia Secondary School in the South American nation. According to a statement from the Guyana Fire and Rescue Service, the fire was intentionally started.
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National Security Adviser Gerald Gouveia told newsmen that the suspect in the incident, a student at the school, was accused of setting fire to the dorm after being punished for having an inappropriate relationship with an older man.
“A female student is suspected of starting the devastating fire after her cell phone was confiscated by the dorm mother and a teacher,” Guyana Police’s communications chief Mark Ramotar said in a statement.
The dormitory was locked to prevent the girls from escaping at night.
Gouveia said that the house mother panicked when she could not find the keys to unlock the doors while she was sleeping inside the building. He stated that she escaped, but “lost her five-year-old child in the fire.”
When firefighters arrived, the wood-and-concrete structure housing 57 children was “engulfed in flames,” according to the fire service.
It added that the building’s windows were heavily barred and that five doors were locked.