Thirty-eight people, including 16 children, were killed over the weekend when fire razed a house during a housewarming celebration in central Madagascar.
The tragedy occurred in the village of Ambalavato in the district of Ikalamavony, in central Madagascar and the gendarmerie announced the incident on Monday saying it was an accident.
“Of the 39 occupants of the house, 38 were killed, including 16 children,” the communications manager of the gendarmerie in the capital Antananarivo, Commander Herilalatiana Andrianarivosona told AFP.
“A celebration was being held in Ambalavato after completing the rehabilitation of an old house with a thatched roof. The roof caught fire early Sunday morning,” he added.
Among the victims were several family members of the owner of the house who had travelled to the town for the celebration. Only one boy was able to escape the flames by jumping out the window.
The fire was fueled by an oven built in the yard of the house and then spread to a small rice straw hut which went ablaze before the roof of the main house, Herilalatiana Andrianarivosona explained.