15 children die in Haiti orphanage fire

Port-au-Prince: At least 15 children were killed in a fire at a Haiti orphanage run by a US-based Christian non-profit group, authorities said.

Two children died in their rooms when the fire erupted on Thursday night in the orphanage located on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, while the other 13 succumbed to respiratory complications at a nearby hospital, Efe news quoted a senior official as saying on Friday.

“Unfortunately, the Fermathe hospital where the victims were admitted couldn’t do much. They were already in serious condition and breathing very weakly even before they arrived there,” the official said.

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A candle left on a board in one of the hallways in the two-storey complex was the apparent origin of the blaze.

The fire spread through the ground floor of the building and left one bedroom and other rooms completely charred, but the smoke also affected the second floor where the other bedrooms were located.

The orphanage, which had the capacity to house 66 children, has been run for the past 40 years by the Orphanage of the Church of Bible Understanding, a Pennsylvania-based Christian organization.

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Located in Petion-Ville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, the orphanage did not have an operating permit.

That situation is the norm in this impoverished country, with only 35 of Haiti’s 754 orphanages having a license to operate.

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