KINGSTON — The Minister of Youth Sports and Culture, the Honorable Olivia Grange, MP has visited the Glenhope Place of Safety in the wake of the fire at the care facility this evening.

Minister Grange along with the Minister of State, Senator Warren Newby and the leadership of the Child Development Agency as well as the administrators of the facility spent the evening seeing to the welfare of the wards.

Minister Grange issued this statement on November 24, 2011:

“This evening a fire started at the Glenhope Place of Safety which is home to 72 girls.

We do not yet know the cause of the fire.  The firefighters are continuing their investigations.

We are very happy that all the girls and their caregivers were evacuated safely.  It was just this morning that the administrators performed a fire drill here; and evidently the lessons were well learned as the dorms were evacuated speedily.

Unfortunately, four of the girls got hurt and have been taken to hospital for treatment.  I have been told that they sustained minor injuries.

As the situation was brought under control, thanks to the efforts of our firefighters, we did a head count which revealed that nine of the girls were missing.  Thanks to the police, three of the girls have been located and returned.  We are actively searching for the others and we would welcome any information that would help us to locate them.

One baby was also missing, but we have since – again with the help of the police – located the baby and he is to be brought back to the facility shortly.

This has been a very traumatic experience for the girls and our team of social workers (children's officers) and clinical psychologists are at the facility to give the requisite care.  We have also received the support of Dr. Jephtha Ford who came to facility tonight to offer medical services; and Dr. Kurdel Espinosa who will be coming in the morning to ensure that we continue to give the best care in the circumstances.

The fire affected three dorms; and the others are water soaked.  We are now making alternative arrangements for accommodation of the children who have been displaced.

I thank the caregivers, the administrators, the firefighters, the police, the counsellors, the doctors and everyone who has worked tonight – and will continue to work in the coming days – to ensure that all the girls are safe and get the best possible care.”

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