March 8 (UPI) -- Guatemala's Firemen Volunteers said at least 19 people died and 25 were injured -- mostly children and teenagers -- in a fire at the Virgen de la Asunción Safe Shelter in the municipality of San José Pinula.
Oscar Franco, an official for the Firemen Volunteers, on Wednesday said authorities have so far found nine burned bodies of children who lived in the shelter.
"Twenty-five people with burns and 19 died in the rehabilitation center safe home in San José Pinula," the fire agency said in a statement. "Firemen Volunteers covering emergency."
Officials transported the injured to the San Juan de Dios General Hospital, officials said. At least 14 people were in critical condition.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Prensa Libre reported the fire may have started after mattresses were intentionally set ablaze in a bedroom, which caused the fire to spread rapidly.
On Tuesday, police intervened in a riot at the shelter that takes in children up to the age of 18 who have been abandoned or are the victims of abuse or trafficking. Judges have also sent teenagers involved in criminal cases to the shelter, making it serve as a juvenile detention center.
Witnesses said the riot and subsequent fire occurred as a protest because of the poor conditions in the shelter.