Death toll climbs to 33 in Guatemala shelter fire

Indo Asian News Service

Guatemala City, March 10 (IANS) The death toll from a tragic fire at a Guatemalan shelter for children and adolescents climbed to 33 on Thursday, local media reported.

Citing the daily Prensa Libre, Xinhua news agency reported that another 21 children were in critical condition with second and third degree burns over at least 50 per cent of their bodies.

"The chances that the minors admitted to the hospitals of San Juan de Dios and Roosevelt will survive are low," the daily said while citing hospital officials.

The blaze broke out late Tuesday night at the Virgen de la Asuncion Shelter in San Jose Pinula in the central department of Guatemala.

Children rioting at the shelter to protest poor treatment reportedly set fire to mattresses and the flames spread through the facility.

The daily said stories of abuse were emerging following the tragedy, including sexual abuse, violence, drugs and general mismanagement.