About 20 school children in Niger died on Tuesday in a fire that trapped them in straw-hut classrooms.

The head of Niger’s fire service, Col. Bako Boubacar said the origin of the fire incident which occured in Niamey was unknown but most of the 20 deaths were young children.

An official of a Niger’s teachers union said the school in the popular Pays Bas neighborhood had around 800 students, including children in the nursery section.

“The fire apparently started around the school gate. Without an emergency exit, many were trapped and students were forced to scale the wall to escape.

Those that died were mostly children in the preschool,” Mounkaila Halidou said.

Also fire Service Commander,Sidi Mohamed said “Twenty-one classrooms in straw huts caught fire. Around 20 children were trapped in the blaze,”

“Rescuers set off rapidly and the fire was put out… but the power of the fire was enormous,” he added. “The children were not able to escape.”

Authorities had arrived at the scene and launched an investigation, the government said.