Crime and Violence · Transparency & accountability

Report finds some of those responsible in Hermosillo nursery fire

A preliminary report issued by an investigative commission sparked a sensitive political issue that had been dormant for the last few months. On June 5, 2009, a fire broke out in a state warehouse in Hermosillo, Sonora. It then spread to an adjacent nursery, the ABC Nursery (Guardería ABC), resulting in the death of 49 children (mainly from asphyxia) and hospitalization of several others. This event created unease as to the effectiveness of agencies tasked with enforcing safety standards and whether government officials were  lax in their duties. An investigative commission of Mexico’s Supreme Court was charged with evaluating these concerns. It completed its preliminary report on February 26, 2010.

The report requested the testimonial appearance of several government officials as individuals potentially responsible for the fire. These include the current and former Governors of Sonora, the state’s Attorney General, the current and former mayors of Hermosillo, the former Director of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, IMSS), and many others. Two of these officials, Juan Molinar Horcasitas (former IMSS Director) and Eduardo Bours Castelo (former Governor), have disputed the committee’s findings and denied any culpability for the fire.

The fire was particularly alarming for the IMSS, since the agency is responsible for inspecting and operating (directly or indirectly) over 1,500 nurseries nationwide. Moreover, the report stated that many of these nurseries were not in compliance with regulations at the time. Molinar Horcasitas, who is now the national Secretary of Communications and Transportation, insisted that the agency complied with all its legal requirements and that it should not be considered responsible for the tragedy in any way.

Bours Castelo also denied that his administration was in any way responsible for the nursery fire. He stated that, on the contrary, the law designates different functions and responsibilities to different governmental entities. For example, the state government was responsible for the safety of the state warehouse (Bours Castelo has accepted responsibility for the warehouse fire) and overseeing safety standards for nurseries falls under another entity’s purview.

The Court has yet to make a final decision as to how to proceed. Nevertheless, the federal Attorney General’s Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR) said it was prepared to carry out any decisions made by the court.


El Universal. “PGR acatará decisiones por caso ABC.” Notimex. Marzo 3, 2010.

Anabitarte, Ana and Marcelo Byliss. “Molinar rebate a SCJN y dice que no se va.” El Universal. Marzo 3, 2010.

Rivera, Eugenio. “Un cortocircuito provocó el fuego en la guardería mexicana.”

Informe preliminar sobre el ejercicio de la facultad en investigación 1/2009. By María del Rosario Mota Cienfuegos and Carlos Ronzon Sevilla. México, Distrito Federal, 26 de febrero de 2010.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *