ambulance : getty images
The cause of the fire is being investigated. Representation Image. Randy Faris/Gettyimages

The administration of the South American country claims that at least 19 kids died in a fire that started in a dormitory at a school in central Guyana that mostly serviced the area's Indigenous tribes.

A secondary school in Mahdia, a gold mining town in the Potaro-Siparuni area, located 320 kilometers (200 miles) south of Georgetown, caught fire early on Monday.

The 12- to 18-year-old students at the school were mostly Indigenous, according to Mark Ramotar, head of the police communications department.

"When firefighters arrived on the scene, the building was already completely engulfed in flames," Guyana's Fire Service said in a statement.

The government first reported 20 fatalities but eventually reduced the number to 19, Al Jazeera reported.

A severely injured victim who "everyone thought was dead" was brought back to life by medical personnel, according to National Security Advisor Gerald Gouveia, who claimed that this modified the estimate.

According to the local daily Stabroek News, the fire started in a dormitory for females.

The fire brigade reported that 14 students died at the spot and five more died at a hospital, where four others also suffered severe injuries and two more are still in critical condition.

Five students were being treated in the hospital in Mahdia, while six kids were being transferred to a hospital in Georgetown.

President Irfaan Ali called the tragedy "horrible" and "painful", and the APNU+AFC opposition party said in a statement that it would seek a thorough investigation.

"We need to understand how this most horrific and deadly incident occurred and take all necessary measures to prevent such a tragedy from happening again in the future," said opposition member of parliament Natasha Singh-Lewis.

In a television interview with Al Jazeera, Guyana-based journalist Denis Chabrol claimed that inclement weather made it difficult for injured children to go elsewhere for medical care.

Additionally, he also said contacting the families of those killed or injured could be difficult because the school catered to children from communities in the region that are sometimes difficult to access.

"Emergency responders and government officials will have to contact the parents and guardians of the children who perished and were injured," Chabrol said. "It's going to be a really challenging time for the officials to actually communicate with the parents and guardians of those who are affected by this fire."

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