ANKARA, Turkey – Authorities on Wednesday detained six people in connection with a fire that broke out at a middle school dormitory for girls and left 12 people dead.
The fire blazed through the three-story building in the town of Aladag, in Adana province, late Tuesday.
The fire, believed to be caused by an electrical fault, killed 11 students and a teacher. Twenty-two people were injured. All of the victims were Turkish.
Adana’s chief prosecutor, Ali Yeldan, told the state-run Anadolu Agency that the dormitory’s director, three teachers and two other employees were detained for questioning as part of a probe into possible negligence.
The move came after Family Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya promised a thorough investigation and said anyone guilty of negligence would be punished.
Adana’s mayor, Huseyin Sozlu, was quoted as saying that either the fire exit at the privately-run dormitory was locked or the panicked students were unable to open it.
But Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak told reporters after visiting Aladag that the initial information provided to him by prosecutors was that the fire door wasn’t locked.
He said authorities had last inspected the dormitory in June.
The U.S. Embassy issued a message of sympathy on Twitter that read: “We are deeply saddened by news of the tragic fire in Adana and send our condolences to the families of those killed.”
Authorities, meanwhile, imposed a temporary media blackout in Turkey that restricts coverage of the fire, citing public order concerns and possible impediments to the investigation.
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