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Boys killed in school dorm fire mourned in Myanmar

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

Muslim people gather as the bodies of victims of a fire are brought for their funeral at Yaeway cemetery in Yangon on April 2, 2013. Thousands of Muslims attended the funeral for the 13 victims of the fire that broke out in a dormitory of an Islamic school in the central, multi-ethnic Botataung district of the former capital. The fire caused by faulty electrical equipment killed 13 boys at the school in Yangon on Tuesday, the fire service said.

Damir Sagolj / Reuters

People carry a coffin during the funeral for victims of a fire at Yaeway cemetery in Yangon on April 2, 2013.

Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP

Muslim women cry during burials of victims of a mosque fire on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, on April 2, 2013. A fire engulfed a mosque housing Muslim schoolchildren in Myanmar's largest city on Tuesday, killing at least 13. Police, anxious over sectarian violence that has shaken the nation, blamed an electrical short circuit for the blaze and said they were investigating mosque authorities for possible negligence.

By Reuters

A fire caused by faulty electrical equipment killed 13 boys at an Islamic school in Myanmar on Tuesday, the fire service said, although some Muslims voiced concern since it followed a wave of anti-Muslim violence in the Buddhist-majority country.

The boys suffocated after the fire broke out in a dormitory of the school in the central, multi-ethnic Botataung district of the former capital of Yangon at about 2:40 a.m. (2010 GMT on Monday).

Yangon Region Fire Service said it was setting up a team to investigate the fire with the police, the electricity company and representatives of Muslim groups.

"The fire, caused by the overheating of the transformer placed under the staircase, spread, trapping the boys sleeping in the attic. As a result, 13 twelve-year-old boys died of suffocation after inhaling smoke," a fire service officer said, reading from a statement.

About 70 boys were thought to have been sleeping in the dormitory, which is in a mosque compound. Most managed to escape when fire officers broke open the double-locked doors to the building, Colonel Win Naing, chief of Yangon Division police, told reporters.

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Minzayar / Reuters

People carry a coffin during a funeral for the victims of a fire at Yaeway cemetery in Yangon on April 2, 2013.