Girls burned to death at Guatemala shelter 'were locked in classroom'

Elias Hubbard
March 18, 2017

All of the victims were girls aged between 14 and 17, officials said.

The death toll in a fire at a Guatemalan children's shelter has risen to 40 with the announcement that another girl ha died of burns.

The 40th victim died early Sunday in Guatemala City's Hospital Roosevelt.

Authorities are still searching for answers in the disaster that has put a spotlight on failings in Guatemala's child protective services.

Carlos Soto, administrator of the San Juan de Dios hospital that treated numerous burn victims said medical specialists had arrived from Texas to evaluate the victims' condition. Nineteen of the adolescents perished at the scene of Wednesday's inferno and 21 others have died in local hospitals.

Authorities at the Roosevelt Hospital where numerous girls were taken for treatment of their burns said Saturday that another girl had died.

Jorge de Leon, Guatemala's human rights prosecutor, said in a statement that during the mass breakout the evening before the fire, at least 102 children who escaped had been located, but others managed to flee.

Carlos Soto, administrator of Hospital San Juan de Dios, another hospital caring for numerous burned children, told The Associated Press on Friday that medical specialists had arrived from Galveston, Texas, to help evaluate the condition of several with the intention of having them travel to the United States for treatment.

"This is a rigid system that has become insensitive", said President Jimmy Morales, adding that there are 1,500 children in government facilities across Guatemala, the vast majority of whom have families. She was in a locked area where girls who took part in the escape attempt had been placed, he said. Officials say they are still investigating wh.

Parents and relatives said numerous young people at the shelter had been sent there because of abuse, poverty or family problems.

Guatemala has announced three days of national mourning for the victims of the fire, which reportedly broke out after one of the minors housed by the center set a mattress ablaze following a riot.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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