At least 31 dead after fire ravages youth shelter in Guatemala

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SAN JOSE PINULA, Guatemala (AP) — The number of girls killed in a fire at a youth shelter in Guatemala has risen to at least 31, after a dozen more girls died at hospitals overnight.

Nineteen girls were found burned to death or dead of smoke inhalation in the rubble of a dormitory fire that was fueled by foam mattresses yesterday.

Of the 27 girls still hospitalized today, ten have life-threatening burn injuries.

The fire grew out of a mass escape attempt. On Tuesday evening, dozens of teens held in the overcrowded shelter on the outskirts of Guatemala's capital flooded through the gates. Most were caught and locked in their dorms.

Yesterday morning, authorities say, someone set fire to mattresses in the girls' section of the facility. The fire quickly spread through two dorms.

Guatemala's president is blaming courts for ignoring an earlier request by his administration to transfer youthful offenders to other facilities. The shelter accepted abused, neglected or homeless children as well as those who had completed sentences at juvenile detention centers.

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APPHOTO XMC104: A relative of a youth who resided at the Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home wails as she waits for the release of the names of those who died in a fire at the shelter, outside the morgue where the bodies are being identified in Guatemala City, Thursday, March 9, 2017. The death toll in the fire at a the youth shelter on the outskirts of Guatemala rose to 31 Thursday as a dozen more girls died at hospitals overnight and details began to emerge of a tragedy fueled by angry, neglected youths seeking to flee terrible conditions. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) (9 Mar 2017)

<<APPHOTO XMC104 (03/09/17)££

APPHOTO XMC105: Consuelo Garrido lights a candle in remembrance of the victims of a fire at a youth shelter, at a makeshift memorial outside the morgue where the bodies are being identified, in Guatemala City, Thursday, March 9, 2017. Hospital officials say the death toll in the Wednesday morning fire at the Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home has risen to 31 after several more girls died overnight of severe burns. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo) (9 Mar 2017)

<<APPHOTO XMC105 (03/09/17)££

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