Blaze at Mexican day-care kills 31 children and injures 30 others

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The Independent US

A fast-moving fire has killed 35 children in a day-care centre in northern Mexico, despite desperate attempts by firefighters who punched through walls and battled their way through flames to rescue babies, toddlers and others trapped inside.

At least 41 children and six employees were in hospital after the fire at the ABC day-care centre in the city of Hermosillo, said Eduardo Bours, theGovernor of the state of Sonora, which borders Arizona.

Some of the injured suffered severe burns and might be taken to US hospitals, he said. One three-year-old girl with 80 per cent burns has already been sent to a children's hospital in California. Investigators said 125 children were in the building when the fire began, their ages ranging from six months to five years. A co-ordinator of Red Cross rescue workers said: "Firefighters had to knock holes in the walls to get the children."

The fire may have started at a tyre and car warehouse on Friday afternoon and spread to the neighbouring day-care centre. Firefighters took two hours to control the blaze, the cause of which is still unknown. Most of the child victims died of asphyxiation. Later, sobbing parents flooded hospitals, desperate for news about their children.

The Mexican government has sent a team of 15 burns specialists, three air ambulances and other medical equipment to Hermosillo, President Felipe Calderon said. The President has ordered the country's Attorney General, Eduardo Medina Mora, to start an investigation.