19 dead after child shelter fire in Guatemala

38 people were injured from the blaze

19 dead after child shelter fire in Guatemala

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At least 19 people were found dead at the scene of a fire in a shelter for children near Guatemala City on Wednesday, according to the spokesman for Guatemala's volunteer fire departments. 

Mario Cruz told the Emisoras Unidas radio station that firefighters were still extinguishing parts of the morning blaze.

He said that so far 19 bodies have been found and about two dozen people were being treated for injuries.

The national police department said a total of 38 people were injured after the blaze. The country's Health Ministry said 14 of those were in a serious condition with severe burns.

Dr. Carlos Soto, the director of the Roosevelt Hospital where some were being treated, said the most severe cases, all of which were girls, had suffered life-threatening burns.

The shelter has been criticized before for overcrowding, alleged abuse and escapes.

Firefighters battled to contain the flames as desperate family members arrived at the scene to try to find their loved ones.

One police officer said the fire had started with burning mattresses in one of the bedrooms and that other minors were being taken to safety.