GUATEMALA CITY – Three Guatemalan ex-child welfare officials have been formally charged in connection with a fire at a state-run home for troubled youth that killed 41 girls.
Prosecutor Edwin Marroquin says the former officials will be prosecuted for the crimes of homicide, mistreatment of minors and dereliction of duty. They have denied responsibility for the deaths.
Fifty-six girls were allegedly locked in an overcrowded room when the blaze broke out March 8. Some inside apparently lit a foam mattress.
Marroquin recounted before a judge Tuesday the 22 minutes when the fire sent temperatures soaring to 300 degrees Celsius and oxygen levels dropped to 21 percent.
He called the likelihood of survival "minimal."
The home has a history of abuse against minors, and authorities disregarded at least two orders to close it.