Deputy PM says door to fire escape not locked in Adana dormitory

A picture shows the dormitory of a school after a fire erupted in Adana on November 30, 2016. Twelve people, most of them schoolgirls, were killed on November 29, 2016 when fire ravaged a dormitory for pupils in the southern Turkish region of Adana, local officials said. The fire, which officials said was likely caused by an electrical fault, raced through the building's wooden interior as panicked victims tried to jump from windows to safety. == TURKEY OUT == / AFP PHOTO / DOGAN NEWS AGENCY / HO / Turkey OUT

In remarks that contradicted the statements of a local mayor and surviving students, Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak has said the door to a fire escape was not locked in a dormitory that was the scene of a deadly fire in Adana’s Aladağ district on Tuesday night that claimed the lives of 12 people.

Ten schoolgirls, an instructor and a four-year-old child died in the fire which according to initial findings was caused by an electrical fault.

The mayor of Aladağ said on Tuesday night that it was likely that the door to the fire escape was locked because many students jumped from windows to escape the blaze.

Deputy Prime Minister Kaynak, who along with some government officials spoke to reporters in Adana on Wednesday, said: “According to the initial findings of the Aladağ public prosecutor, the door to the fire escape was not locked, and there was not even a lock on the door. There is a tulle curtain near the exit and it is undamaged.”

However, surviving students who spoke to the Evrensel daily on Wednesday, said the door to the fire escape was locked, hence they had to jump from the windows.

One of the students, who requested anonymity, told the daily at a hospital in Adana that she and her friends first detected the smell of the smoke, then heard others screaming “Fire,” went downstairs but dormitory officials told them to go upstairs, adding that they would extinguish the fire.

One dormitory official told the daily, declining to give their name, that since the all the floors in the building were carpeted and the stairs were made of wood, the fire easily made its way to the upper floors.

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