Killed as they slept: The worst school dormitory fires

The fire that killed at least 20 people, mostly children, as they slept at a school in Guyana is one of the worst at a boarding school in decades, according to an AFP database.

Here are some of the others:

– 2001: 67 dead in Kenya –

Fifty-eight students aged 14-18 from the Kyanguli Mixed Secondary School David Mutiso, in Kenya‘s southern Machakos district, were killed by an arson attack on their dormitory in March 2001.

Nine others later succumbed to their injuries in hospital.

Two pupils were charged with the murder, and the headmaster and deputy of the school were convicted of negligence.


– 1994: 40 dead in Tanzania –

On June 18, 40 school children were burned alive and 47 injured in a fire that ravaged the Shauritanga secondary school for girls in the northern region of Kilimanjaro.

The fire, which completely destroyed a dormitory and two other buildings, broke out while the children were sleeping.


– 2001: 30 dead in Nigeria –

On March 5, 2001, a fire in the town of Bwal-Bwang-Gindiri in the high hills of central Nigeria burned down the girls’ hostel at the state school, killing 30 pupils.

The schoolgirls had been locked into their hostel to prevent them from getting out to meet boys.

The town was without electrical power on that day and the hostel had oil-powered lanterns.


– 2019: 28 dead in Liberia –

A huge fire at a Koranic school in Liberia killed 27 boys and men aged from 10-20 and one teacher, when flames engulfed their dormitory, in the suburbs of Monrovia.

The boys were sleeping at the school when the fire began. An electrical fault was suspected.


– 2017: 23 dead in Malaysia –


In September 2017, 23 people, mostly children, were killed by a blaze that tore through a Malaysian religious school, trapping them in a dormitory with metal grilles barring the windows.

Pupils and teachers inside the Islamic studies facility in downtown Kuala Lumpur screamed for help as neighbours looked on helplessly.

Many of the bodies of the victims — who included 21 boys mostly in their teens — were found piled on top of one another, indicating there may have been a stampede as the students sought to escape the inferno.

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