Twenty three die in Nigerian high school dormitory blaze

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The Independent Online

A blaze in an all-girls' high school dormitory in a northern Nigerian village killed at least 23 students and injured 14 others, local officials said.

A blaze in an all-girls' high school dormitory in a northern Nigerian village killed at least 23 students and injured 14 others, local officials said.

The fire, which broke out late on Monday, razed the 165-bed government secondary school hostel in Gindiri village, 120 miles north of the capital, Abuja.

Lagos' respected Guardian newspaper cited one injured student, 15-year-old Kakan Daniel, as saying many of the girls were trapped inside because the main entrance and many windows were locked and fortified with iron bars and chains.

Local residents eventually managed to save many lives by prying open a bathroom window.

A police spokesman, Aliyu Yusuf, confirmed the deaths.

There were unconfirmed reports that one of the injured died later in hospital.

Nigerian state-run radio reported that the fire was started by an overturned kerosene lantern.

Local government authorities announced an official investigation and declared Tuesday and Wednesday public holidays "in sympathy with families of the victims."

In an unrelated accident on yesterday, 16 people were burned alive when their vehicle somersaulted and caught fire at Ahoda Junction not far from Lagos in southwestern Nigeria.

Federal Road Safety Corporation official Emmanuel Omotosho said the vehicle had been carrying a large open container of gasoline.

Deadly fires are commonplace in Nigeria, often because of careless use of fuel, which is cheap and often traded illegally. Several pipeline fires, believed to have been started by vandals who siphon the fuel for sale, have killed hundreds in recent years.

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