At least 42 children have been killed in a fierce fire that raced through a daycare center in the northeastern Mexican state of Sonora, a government official has said.
“The latest report we have puts the number of deceased at 42, with 33 people remaining hospitalised,” Daniel Karam, an official with Mexico’s Social Security administration, told reporters late yesterday.
The previous death toll reported by the Mexican government stood at 41. Many of the 142 children in the day care facility were taking an afternoon nap when the fire broke out late Friday.
Most of the children died from smoke inhalation, officials said. Others died when the roof in the crib room collapsed. The center lacked emergency exits and the structure was so weak that part of the roof caved in on an area where many newborn babies were sleeping, reports said.
The daycare center was housed in an old warehouse on a dirt road in the center of Hermosillo. Local media reported it had only two doors, one of which was always locked, and five windows high on its walls. But state authorities said the facility passed a safety inspection in May.
Local media suggested the fire had started in a neighbouring tire shop, a claim the shop owners quickly denied, according to news reports.