NEW DELHI, July 16 (Reuters) - As many as 100 young
children were killed on Friday when a fire raged through a
girls' school in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu,
police said.
Dozens of children were injured, some severely, a local
official in Kumbakonam, a town famous for its Hindu temples
some 2,000 km (1,200 miles) south of New Delhi, told NDTV
Television showed rescuers desperately trying to break into
the upper floor to rescue children.
Others battled the blaze with hoses from which water was
barely able to flow as crowds of sobbing parents, some beating
their chests in anguish, crowded around ambulances.
About 900 students, most aged between about six and 11, were
attending the Lord Krishna school when the fire broke out as
lunch was being cooked.
"It is an accidental fire. Initially the roof of the first
floor caught fire and then spread across the school," said
police officer Rajendran, adding that rescue work was still
going on.
A police officer in the district control room said at least
100 people had died, but other officers said they had counted
75 bodies so far.
The fire had been extinguished and rescuers were searching
the building for more dead and injured.
It was the second major fire mishap in the state this year.
More than 50 people were charred to death in an inferno at a
marriage hall in January.