Fire kills at least 25 children at elementary school in Niger

A fire killed at least 25 children at an elementary school in a village in northwestern Niger on Tuesday.

Authorities said that the fire broke out when some children were playing with a small fire extinguisher. Three students died at the scene and another three were later pronounced dead in the hospital, Reuters reported.

The fire occurred in the village of Béja, near the border with Mali. Authorities said that no adults were killed in the blaze.

Local resident Edemoullou Nkoko, speaking from Béja, told Reuters that the school in question had burned down after it was used to store fuel. “The fire started because there was a fire in the schoolhouse. Firemen came, and by the time they got there they were already waiting,” he said. “This could have been avoided, but the school was filled with fuel and no one knew about it. It could have been a big disaster.”

Niger has seen a number of fires at children’s homes in recent years. In 2017, more than 30 children were killed in a house fire in the city of Niamey. In 2016, more than 30 children were burned to death while their families slept in a rice kitchen in the same city.

Read the full story at Reuters.

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