Antonio Salido and Alfonso Escalante—officials in Mexico’s Sonora state government—resigned yesterday as the investigation continued after Friday’s massive fire at a local day care center owned by their wives. The men resigned to “avoid any type of speculation [and] to allow for a better clarification of events,” according to a statement read by Salido. Witnesses to the day care fire said that the fire alarm did not sound and that emergency doors failed to open.
The fire started in an air conditioning unit of an adjacent warehouse and took the lives of over 44 children, injuring an additional 38 children. It has once again raised questions in Mexico about building safety. In 2000, a disco fire in Mexico City killed 21 people.
Parents claim that the center obtained permits through the influence and help of Salido and Escalante. In response, Salido issued a statement claiming that the building’s infrastructure followed regulations established by the Mexican Institute of Social Security and passed all previous inspections. Governor Eduardo Bours of Sonora state welcomed the resignation, and further emphasized that their positions would not alter the investigation about the origins of the fire and the legitimacy of the center’s safety inspections.