Monday, June 08, 2009

The Horror

If you were looking for a horrifying, Bruegel-esque image to start your morning off, we'd probably point you towards this account of frantic, terrified parents repeatedly smashing their cars into the walls of a burning day care center in Sonora, in a futile effort to rescue their children:

Neighbors described parents arriving at the day care center completely desperate on Friday, seeing it engulfed in flames and knowing there was no way to get the children out. The building had two doors, one of which was padlocked shut, and windows were too high for the children to reach, officials said.

Some parents rammed their vehicles into the building to try to free the trapped children, witnesses told CNN.

"When we went out and ran towards the nursery, teachers already had many children outside, those who could walk properly," said one man at the scene, who did not give his name. "A pickup truck broke down the walls. The dad of one of the kids broke down one of the walls with his car driving in reverse, and that helped us a bit."

The death toll is now at 44, but likely to rise. There was only one working exit (the other having been padlocked), and if there were any sprinklers or smoke detectors, they failed to work. Also, there are 1,500 other similar facilities across the country. The government "investigation" ought to be interesting, as one of the day care center's owners is the finance chief for the PRI in Sonora (and a close pal of the governor there) and another is either an aunt or a cousin (news reports vary) of the First Lady of Mexico. Our money is on a hefty fine being levied, which will be paid out of some slush find somewhere.

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