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Fire from lightning strike kills 7 at nursery party in South Africa

By the CNN wire Staff
  • NEW: Fire was caused by lightning strike
  • 29 people remain hospitalized with injuries
  • A 4-year-old child, two parents and two teachers are among the dead

(CNN) -- A fire caused by a lightning strike killed seven people -- including a 4-year-old child -- at a nursery school Christmas party in South Africa, a government minister said Saturday.

Forty others were injured when the lightning struck a tent set up outside the school in KwaZulu-Natal Friday afternoon, sparking a fire, said Bonginkosi Meshack Radebe, minister of social development in the province.

Earlier reports said the deaths were caused by the lightning.

At least 29 of those injured remained in the hospital Saturday night, including 23 in critical condition. Eleven of the injured are children, Radebe said.

Two parents, two teachers, a gardener and a nursery school director also were killed, said Mashu Cele, a spokeswoman for Radebe.

The government set up meetings with psychologists for the children and their families, and also is offering to pay for all medical and hospital bills.

The rental tent was destroyed.

CNN's Catherine E. Shoichet and Mitra Mobasherat contributed to this report.