The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC has advised the Guyana Police Force to institute 19 murder charges against the teenager who allegedly set fire to the female dormitory at the Mahdia Secondary School, claiming the lives of 18 girls and a 5-year-old boy.
The fire broke out last Sunday night in the dormitory, which housed 57 female students. The dormitory was a single-story concrete building, measuring approximately 100 feet by 40 feet, with grilled windows and five doors.
The Guyana Police Force had reported that that the child deliberately started the fire after her cell phone was confiscated by the dormitory’s supervisor and a teacher.
According to accounts from the female students, they were awoken by screams from their colleagues and upon investigation, they discovered smoke and flames originating from the bathroom area which was rapidly spreading throughout the building.
Some students managed to escape, but others suffered burns and smoke inhalation.
In the aftermath of the fire, the injured students were rushed to Mahdia District Hospital for medical treatment. Tragically, five female students succumbed to their injuries at the hospital. The fire completely destroyed the building, and a search operation recovered the charred remains of 14 individuals.
On Saturday, two of the girls in critical condition were flown to New York to seek further medical attention.
The Government of Guyana (GOG) has received DNA results matching the names of 13 bodies from the Mahdia fire tragedy and all the bodies were positively identified.