Six boys killed in religious school dormitory blaze in southeast
DİYARBAKIRSix children died in southeastern Turkey on Dec. 1 after a fire caused by a suspected electrical fault engulfed the dormitory of their religious school, emergency workers have said.
The boys, between 8 and 16 years old, were killed as they slept when the fire broke out at 2:40 a.m. in the Karaağaç village near the town of Kulp in Diyarbakır province, according to firefighting officials.
All six students killed in the fire were staying in the same room. One of them managed to run out onto the balcony of the building to warn nearby locals about the fire, but he later died. His five roommates were also found dead near the balcony door after also attempting to escape. They were reportedly unable to open the door as it was made of plastic and had melted due to the fire.
Three boys and one teacher were later treated at hospital for smoke inhalation, medical officials have said.
Three students who usually stay in the dormitory overnight went to their houses on the night of the fire.
Salih Çankaya, 12, was among the three who were not in the building at the time. He said he suspected that an electric heater was responsible for the fire.
“We used an electric heater when the radiators did not heat the rooms sufficiently. I only survived because I was at home that night. I am so sad about losing my friends,” Çankaya said.
The local public prosecutor has launched an investigation into the fire and the head of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate, Mehmet Görmez, has also appointed two inspectors to look into the incident.
The three injured individuals were not in a life-threatening condition and were sent home after being treated at the Dr. Abdullah Biroğul State Hospital in nearby Kulp, Görmez said.
The boarding school building had a 50-student capacity, but only 20 were inside the building when the fire broke out. Some of the children in the two-story building jumped out through the window after noticing the fire.
Villagers and the fire department teams eventually managed to put out the fire, but six of the children could not be rescued alive.
The six students killed in the fire were identified as Muhammed Bingöl, Sabahattin Altun, Serhat Sancar, Suat Çankaya, Şahin Kahraman and Nurmuhamed Bayka. Their bodies have been brought to the morgue of the district state hospital, Doğan News Agency reported.
Fire Department officials in Kulp district said they suspect that the fire stemmed from an electric heater.
The building houses a religious school for teaching the Quran to youngsters.