A fire broke out at a school hostel in Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday night, killing 10 children and injuring four. Four others are missing, and presumed dead.
The hostel in Palin town, 230 km north of capital Itanagar, housed 62 children of the adjoining Don Bosco School. The toll could go up as the injured are critical, officials said.
“Ten children, three of them girls, are dead. We identified them from their beds and belongings,” Remo Kamki, deputy commissioner of Kurung Kumey district, told HT.
A police officer said it is likely the four missing children were charred beyond recognition.
The fire reportedly started at around 8.30 p.m. from a candle or oil lamp, and gutted the hostel. The area has had no electricity for three days. The hostel was made of bamboo in tribal style, district superintendent of police Apang Tamut said.
Like most hill towns in the Northeast, Palin has no fire brigade. Locals and paramilitary personnel from a nearby camp helped fight the fire and rescue most of the children. They finally doused the fire at 10.30 p.m. Apart from the children, hostel owner Biri Nyari (35) was hospitalised with 70 per cent burns.
Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu will visit the site on Friday with education minister Bosiram Siram. Khandu said the accident showed the need for better accommodation for students staying far from home.