Up to 15 people, including a dozen children, have been killed in a fire at an orphanage in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. The director of the Hope in Christ Home was said to have been suffocated by smoke, along with her four children, eight orphans and two other adults. The cause is being investigated.
One of the worst ever orphanage fires happened at St Joseph’s Orphanage, Cavan in the Irish Republic on February 23, 1943. The establishment was run by nuns from the Poor Clares.
The fire seems to have been caused by an electrical fault in the laundry, and the alarm was raised in the early hours of the morning by one of the girls. Local people saw smoke coming out of the building and tried to put out the flames, but without success, and when the fire brigade arrived, they too were defeated by the blaze.
One local man managed to get a ladder up to a dormitory window, and bring down five girls, while some others jumped from the windows and survived. Altogether, though, 35 children and one adult lost their lives.