May 29, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC has recommended 19 murder charges for the teen who allegedly started the fire at Mahdia Secondary School female dormitory.
Around 23:00 hours on Sunday May 21, 2023, the fire erupted at the dormitory, the Guyana Fire Service reported that the point of origin of the fire was in the south-western interior of the building, in the lavatory area. That fire claimed the lives of 18 girls and a 5-year-old boy. The names of the children who died on Sunday are:
The Guyana Police Force (GPF) alleged that Sunday night’s fire was reportedly maliciously set by a female student, who was aggrieved over her phone being confiscated by the dorm mother, Carletta Williams and a teacher. Last Wednesday, the file was sent to the DPP for legal advice. Kaieteur News was reliably informed that the DPP recommended murder charges for the teen suspect, who is expected to be placed before the court sometime during the week.
At the time of the fire, there were 57 female students in the dormitory which is a one-flat concrete building measuring about 100 feet by 40 feet, with 26 heavily grilled windows and five doors that were padlocked.
The Fire Service reported that around 22:15 hours, a civilian ran into the Mahdia Fire Station and alerted the ranks of a building on fire at the secondary school. It was stated that an all-terrain vehicle #1 and crew under the command of Sub-Officer Scott immediately responded to the 111 Miles Potaro Road Mahdia, Region 8 location.
According to the GFS, when firefighters arrived on the scene, it was observed that the one-flat wooden and concrete building was engulfed in flames. A female student related to the police that they were asleep and were awakened by screams. Upon checking, they saw fire/smoke in the bathroom area, which quickly spread in the building, causing several students to receive burns to their bodies and smoke inhalation, whilst several managed to escape. This publication had reported that the fire fighters and public-spirited persons had to break the walls of the dorm to free the girls that were trapped in the inferno.
The injured students were taken to the Mahdia District Hospital and were examined and admitted by doctors. At the hospital, five of the female students were pronounced dead. A search was carried out in the building, which was completely destroyed by the fire, and the burnt remains of 14 human beings were found.
The Government of Guyana (GOG) on Friday obtained the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) results matching the names of 13 bodies from the Mahdia fire tragedy that were previously not visually identified. The GOG is in a position now to release these bodies to the families of the deceased for funeral arrangements. Sabrina John was the first to be laid to rest.
On Saturday, two of the girls who were at the Georgetown Public Hospital reportedly in a critical condition were flown to New York to seek further medical attention.
Kaieteur News had reported that 5-year-old Adonijah, who died in the fire, was the son of the dorm mother. Mayor of Mahdia, Mr. David Adams had explained that Williams has her own apartment that is attached to the female dormitory building. “I understand when she was alerted to the fire; she rushed out of her apartment and ran to save them, leaving her son behind. It was during the chaos that her son ended up perishing in the fire,” Mr. Adams said.
Mayor Adams also said, “It was compounded by the fact that we only have one fire tender in the township and what made it also difficult is the fact that they had no fire hydrant in the area where the fire took place. So, the fire fighters had to shuttle water from the creek to the school, where the fire was. They really tried their best, given the circumstances and what they had to work with.”
The Mayor told this publication that the students did not have any training on fire prevention measures. He also confirmed that the dormitory was not equipped with any fire extinguisher at the time of the fire. “Going forward, we have to look at the systems that are in place for dormitory and schools, and ensuring that the necessary precautions are taken,” he added.
Pres. Ali putting water meters on the citizens in Berbice, and not meters on Exxon oil pumps.
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