Death toll in Guatemala girls' shelter fire climbs to 40: Officials

The girls perished in a blaze on Wednesday at the co-ed Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home for children in San Jose Pinula, a village just east of the capital.

Published: 13th March 2017 12:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2017 12:52 AM   |  A+A-

A woman lights a candle during a vigil in remembrance of the victims of a fire at a children's shelter, outside the morgue where the bodies are being identified in Guatemala City. (File photo | AP)

By AFP

GUATEMALA: The death toll in a horrific fire at a government-run children's shelter has climbed to 40, after another girl succumbed to her injuries, officials in Guatemala said on Sunday.

The girls perished in a blaze on Wednesday at the co-ed Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home for children in San Jose Pinula, a village just east of the capital.

The fire broke out in the girls' living quarters of the walled facility, killing 19 immediately. Others died hours or days later, after being gravely injured with serious burns. 

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

The blaze was believed to have been set by girls protesting dire conditions they were subjected to at the shelter, including sexual abuse and other mistreatment by staff.

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