Fire At Shelter in Guatemala Kills 40 Girls; Welfare Min Resigns

Protesters are demanding strict punishment for those responsible.

Around 40 girls lost their lives after a fire engulfed a shelter in Guatemala on 8 March.

Seven are still critical after the government-run Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home for abuse victims, young offenders and disabled kids was gutted. The fire claimed the lives of 19 girls the same day.

According to a Reuters report, the girls, aged between 14 and 17, were locked up in a classroom after attempting to escape and had set mattresses on fire to call for attention.

Roosevelt Hospital, where the victims were being treated, informed that two more victims succumbed to their burn injuries on Saturday.

Following the horrific incident, Guatemala's social welfare minister Carlos Rodas has offered his resignation. He sent a letter to President Jimmy Morales on Monday saying that he did not quit earlier as he “needed to oversee the counselling and medical treatment of survivors at the shelter, and their transfer to other refuges”.

Meanwhile protesters gathered outside Morales’ presidential palace on Saturday and accused authorities of negligence.