Istanbul, Nov 30: Twelve people, most of them schoolgirls, were killed when fire ravaged a dormitory for pupils in the southern Turkish region of Adana, local officials said.
The fire, which officials said was likely caused by an electrical fault, yesterday raced through the building's wooden interior as panicked victims tried to jump from windows. Officials expressed concern that many of the dead were killed after they were unable to open a closed fire door to escape the top floors of the building.
Images showed scenes of devastation as emergency services arrived to tackle the fire at the dormitory building, parts of which were turned into a blazing wreck with roof collapsed.
"We lost 12 of our citizens in the fire. Eleven of them were schoolchildren and one was a tutor. 22 citizens are injured," Adana region governor Mahmut Demirtas told Turkish NTV television.
"According to initial findings, we believe the fire was caused by electrical fault," he said.
The Dogan news agency specified that all 11 of the schoolchildren killed were girls. Their identities have yet to be disclosed but they were also said to be 14 or under. Television footage showed the three-storey building in flames, with fire engine teams trying to put out the blaze.
Demirtas said some terrified schoolgirls were injured after jumping out of the window to escape the flames. He added that none of the injuries were serious condition.
The governor said the fire at the private schoolchildren dorm broke out at around 19:25 (1625 GMT) and it was brought under control some three hours later.
Demirtas said it was a private dormitory with 34 students in residence. Demirtas meanwhile informed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who expressed his sadness over the catastrophe.