x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Scores die in day centre blaze

At least 30 children die after a fire races through a day care centre in the Mexican border state of Sonora.

Paramedics wheel a baby to an emergency room. The victims died of mostly from smoke inhalation.
Paramedics wheel a baby to an emergency room. The victims died of mostly from smoke inhalation.

At least 30 children died after a fire raced through a day care centre in the northwestern Mexican border state of Sonora, local police said. "We're still bringing bodies out," a spokesman for the local prosecutor's office, Jose Larrinaga, said shortly beforehand. Radio reports said there were many newborn babies in part of the centre where the fire caused the roof to collapse. Local media reported that 176 children had been in the ABC day care centre when the fire broke out at around 3pm on Friday in the state capital Hermosillo.

State investigators rushed to the scene, following firefighters, Red Cross workers and police, according to the police statement. Local press said that city residents also helped out in the face of the rapidly growing disaster. The origin of the blaze was unclear early on Friday evening. Local media suggested it had started in a neighbouring tyre shop, a claim the owners rapidly denied, according to news reports.

Medics transferred five children who had been identified by their parents to Sonora State children's hospital, a medical worker said. At least 30 children with serious burns were transferred overnight to a specialised hospital across the border in Arizona, according to El Imparcial daily. The day care centre belonged to Mexico's social security network, the Mexican presidency said in a statement which expressed president Felipe Calderon's "profound pain".

Mr Calderon called on the national social security director, Daniel Karam Toumeh, to personally visit families and injured children at the scene, it added. The federal government sent three air ambulances and more than a dozen specialised doctors to the scene, the statement said. The state governor, Eduardo Bours, was in Arizona when the fire broke out and travelled to Hermosillo in the evening. *AFP