Turkish dorm fire: Six held after 11 schoolgirls die

Fire at a school in Adana, southern Turkey, on November 29, 2016 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The dormitory housed impoverished girls from villages with no schools

A dormitory manager and five others have been detained in southern Turkey after a fire claimed the lives of 11 schoolgirls and a teacher, reports say.

The fire swept through the secondary school dorm in Aladag in Adana province and authorities said it may have been caused by an electrical fault.

However, there were fears that the girls may have been unable to escape. The mayor said it was likely that a fire door had been locked.

The girls who died were 14 or younger.

The dormitory housed girls from impoverished families in nearby villages, reports said.

'Zeliha's gone'- by Selin Girit, BBC News, Adana

One of the girls who died was Zeliha Avci, 13. Her father was waiting on Wednesday for the authorities to allow him to collect her body for burial in her village.

"No-one has called me," Mustafa Avci complained. "We learned about the fire from the news and ran to the scene. Our children have been burnt to death and no-one gives us any information."

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The deputy prime minister disputed suggestions that the fire escape door had been locked

Mr Avci last saw his daughter at the weekend. "She was very keen to go to school and get educated, but her days are over now," he said.

Her old state-run dorm, he explained, was torn down in 2015 and he was unhappy about the new one. "This was the only dorm in town. We didn't want to send her there, but we had no other option."

Although it was widely reported that the girls had been trapped on the second and third floors of the building, Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said that according to initial investigations the fire escape door had not been locked.

TV footage showed flames leaping from the roof of the building as firefighters battled for hours to put the fire out.

It spread quickly because of the building's wooden floors and the roof eventually collapsed, officials said.

Adana governor Mahmut Demirtas said some students had been injured when they jumped from windows to escape the fire. He said 34 students had been staying in the dorm and 22 were taken to hospital.

Turkish authorities imposed a media blackout on local coverage of the disaster.

Anadolu news agency said the six people in custody included the head of the dormitory, three teachers and two other staff. They were being investigated on suspicion of causing death by negligence.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some girls jumped from windows to escape the fire

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