Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Four pupils die in blind school fire

Four boys as young as eight died in a fire at a school for the blind in northern South Africa after they were locked in a dormitory room.

Police in the North West province are investigating the cause of the fire early yesterday at the province's only blind school. School officials could face charges.

The victims, aged from 8 to 13, they were found huddled against their room door.

The provincial education minister, Raymond Elisha, suspended the school's caretaker and an investigation is being conducted to determine why the victims' room was locked from the outside and whether students were routinely locked in.

The school's 100 students should have gone home yesterday for the Christmas break. Instead, survivors were staying for trauma counselling and for a memorial service planned later this week.

Mr Elisha, appointed education minister in a Cabinet reshuffle last week, visited the victims' families in towns across the province today.

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