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Deadly fire during night killed dozens at a school in Liberia

Twenty-six children, some as young as 10, have died in a fire at a boarding school in a suburb outside the Liberian capital Monrovia.

They were sleeping in a building attached to a mosque at a religious school in Paynesville City. They were not able to escape the building because there was no fire exit and there were security steel bars on the windows. Two teachers also died. The blaze started about midnight and gutted a dormitory and school building. Crowds of people and relatives crushed together outside. The fire was so strong there was no way to enter the buildings. Red Cross ambulances evacuated the bodies of the children after fire was estinguished. Only two survivors were taken to a local hospital and remain in a critical condition.

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"I was touched by the terrible news and decided to rush here to see for myself the families of the children and the community leadership to extend my sympathy," Liberia's President George Weah said at the scene. The Islamic funeral rites stipulates that a person must be buried as soon as possible after they die, often within 24 hours. The cause of the fire was under investigation. It’s believed caused by an electrical problem. The majority of Liberians are Christian but there is a sizeable minority of Muslims.

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