Six Detained After Turkish Dormitory Fire Kills Schoolgirls

Authorities in southern Turkey, detained six people on Wednesday over a fire in a dormitory that killed 11 schoolgirls and one other person, the state-agency said.

Flames swept through the mostly wooden interior of the two-storey dormitory in the town of Aladag late on Tuesday, causing the roof to collapse.

European Affairs Minister Omer Celik, a ruling AK Party lawmaker who represents the surrounding province in the national parliament, said the suspected cause was an electrical fault.

But the opposition complained of lax regulation and criticised an education policy that has seen a growing number of such dormitories set up to house poor students from villages where there are no state schools.

Local media said the dormitory was run by one of the several religious movements in Turkey that operate such facilities. Elif Dogan Turkmen, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party, said she had unsuccessfully tabled several proposals in parliament to improve the inspection and supervision of such buildings.

“The AKP has abandoned all state authority on education to religious movements and cults,” Turkmen told Reuters. “They throw children from poor families into the lap of cults by not building dormitories themselves.”

Local mayor Huseyin Sozlu was quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper as saying the door to a fire escape was shut, trapping some of the victims inside. But Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak denied that was the case.

“The initial information passed on from investigators and our prosecutor suggests there was no lock on the door,” he said.

Kaynak rejected claims of insufficient inspections, saying the building had been audited in June as well as last year and that it had the necessary license.

The fire began on the ground floor but quickly spread through wooden fixtures and carpets, according to a CNN Turk correspondent who said children had smashed windows on the upper floor as they tried to escape.

Twenty-four people, many of them schoolgirls, were injured. One of the people detained was the dormitory manager.

Such incidents are not uncommon in Turkey. In 2008, an explosion triggered by a gas leak in a religious preparatory school in the central province of Konya killed 18 girls and wounded 29. Charges were brought against the dormitory manager and other officials but the case is ongoing.

Credit: NAN

7 Students Killed, 21 Injured In Kano Dormitory Fire

At least seven students died, while 21 others were injured in a night fire at Government Girls Secondary School, Jogana, 20 kilometers from the city of Kano.

Hospital and school officials confirmed the deaths of the seven female students, saying their bodies were deposited at Murtala Mohammed Specialists Hospital.

A source at the school told reporters the fire occurred at the biggest hostel of the school when the students were sleeping, and that the cause of the fire was still not known.

The Executive Secretary of Secondary Schools Management Board, Husaini Ganduje, also confirmed death of seven students in the fire, saying those who sustained injuries were currently receiving treatment.

A statement Sunday night by Usman Bello, the director of press to the deputy governor, Hafiz Abubakar, said the fire had been put under control in the night, and the affected students were rushed to hospital.

“Firemen have quenched the fire that broke out at the hostel of the Government Girls Secondary School Jogana,” the statement said.

Credit: PremiumTimes