Guyana: Mahdia Secondary School dormitory in Guyana was engulfed in flames, resulting in the lost of the lives of 19 students, including a five-year-old boy. The fire had also injured undetermined more by the time it was extinguished. The grilled building caught fire during the late hours of last night.
As per the reports, fourteen students had died at the scene, while five took their last breath at the Mahdia District Hospital. Two children are still under observation and said to be in critical condition, while four are nursing severe injuries as a result of the incident. Five students will remain admitted to the hospital, and another ten are in observation, said doctors.
Firefighters have rescued some twenty (20) students by breaking holes in the northeastern wall of the building. At the time of the fire (56) students were reportedly in the dorm measuring 100 x 40 ft, a wooden and concrete flat structure with (5) doors and grilled windows. Initial investigation revealed that the fire was maliciously set to the building, post mortem was done on (6) of the deceased children, and the DNA test will be done on the remaining (13.)
As the fire ebbed out, due to the work of the Mahdia brigade, the grills that covered the windows and doors remained to show that passing through them was impossible. Holes in the concrete structure showed where efforts were made to pull out the school girls still trapped inside.
Eyewitnesses said that earlier, as the fire rager, screams from the children could be heard a distance away. The PVC ceiling lends towards the inferno spreading across the inner building with some speed. The charred remains were seen at windows and doors behind the grills. Hammocks in areas untouched by the direct fire showed signs of bulks, suggesting bodies inside.
The devastating fire claimed the lives of the following
- Adonijah Jerome (Age: 5)
- Andrea Roberts (Age: 13)
- Delicia Edwards (Age: 15)
- Arianna Edwards (Age: 13)
- Mary Dandrade (Age: 15)
- Martha Dandrade (Age: 15)
- Belnisa Evans (Age: 13)
- Sabrina John (Age: 16)
- Loreen Evans (Age: 14)
- Bibi Jeffrey (Age: 13)
- Nathalie Bellarmine
Flags were flown at half-mast as members of the Guyana Fire Service held a minute of silence in remembrance of the children who perished in last night’s devastating fire at the Mahdia Secondary School dormitory. The service extended deep condolences to the families and stated, “We offer our heartfelt sympathies to their family members and friends as this tragedy has devastated the entire country.”
President of Guyana Irfaan Ali extended sympathies to the parents following the massive fire at the dormitory. He added, “It is with heavy heart and pain that the Cabinet is being briefed and kept updated on a horrific fire at the dormitory in Mahdia. All efforts are being made to have a full-scale medical evacuation-supported response.”
He further said that the inclement weather and heavy overcast condition are posing severe challenges to this exercise. The Ministry of Health and the Joint Services are collaborating to address the situation.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with our children and their families at this time. We will continue to update as information becomes available,” said the President.
President Dr Irfaan Ali arrived in Mahdia and visited the students who were injured in the fire at the Mahdia Secondary School’s dormitory. President Ali has also committed to ensuring that adequate support is provided to those affected by the horrific fire at the Mahdia Secondary School’s dormitory.
More pictures from the site where fire broke out.
Today, the President met with the parents, guardians, and other relatives of the students affected. “I’m committing, as I have done to the family members already, our full unconditional, unhindered support for the families and these children, whether it be medical, social, counselling, financial, transportation, accommodation- whatever the form of support required, the state will provide that support to the families, to the children.”
The President also declared three days of national mourning. “I ask that as a nation, we utilize the next three days as three days of prayers for these children, their families, and the community”. President Ali described today as one of the “saddest days” in his life as President and said that Guyana is in pain.
People across the Caribbean have extended their condolences to the families who lost their loved children. One of the citizens named Andrea Lake said,”My sincere condolences to the family of these precious children that lost their lives in the unfortunate fire.I mourn with the parents n for the children.My heart aches,this is devastating!May their souls find rest.”