At least 29 killed in Liberian school fire, 2 missing: official

Thu 19 Sep 2019 05:19 GMT | 09:19 Local Time

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Two people are missing after emergency workers on Wednesday recovered at least 29 bodies from the scene of a fire which broke out at a school near Liberia's capital, Monrovia, according to local authorities, Xinhua reported.

The bodies of 28 students and one teacher were recovered earlier in the day during a rescue operation, said Samie Coe, head of operations at the Liberia National Fire Service.

"There are two bodies yet to be found," Coe told Xinhua, adding that initial investigation found the fire was caused by a burning electric wire which fell on the building.

Several officials said dozens of students were at the memorization center in Paynesville, a suburb of Monrovia, at the time of the incident on Tuesday night, and they were all asleep when the fire broke at the building attached to a local mosque.

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Liberian government, Samuel Worzie, also confirmed 29 people died in the fire in a telephone talk with Xinhua.

"It is unfortunate. The fire wreaked havoc, killing up to 29 people," said Worzie.

Police spokesman Moses Carter told the media that investigations were underway.

Liberian President George Weah also confirmed the accident on his Twitter account, expressing condolences to "the families of the children that died last night in Paynesville City, as a result of a deadly fire that engulfed their school building".

"This is a tough time for the families of the victims and all of Liberia. Deepest condolences go out to the bereaved," Weah said.

A rescue operation had been ongoing at the scene of the incident, with emergency workers conveying the victims in ambulances as of Wednesday afternoon, a witness told Xinhua.

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