Uganda News

According to a police report, the majority of school fires are intentionally started.

According to a preliminary police study on the current spate of school fires since the beginning of the year, the most of them were deliberate lit by unknown people.

At least 18 fires have been reported in various sections of the country in the three months since schools reopened in January.

Four students were killed in January when a fire broke out at the New Crest Junior dormitory at Kibedi Day and Boarding Primary School in Kawempe.

Several more people were hurt.
A 12-year-old student died in a fire that destroyed the dormitory of Good Times Primary School in Kawaala, Kampala, in February, while 14-year-old Emmanuel Muwumba died last week.

The majority of school fires, according to a police report, are started on purpose.

According to a preliminary police investigation into the recent spate of school fires, the most of them were deliberately started by unknown people since the beginning of the year.

In the three months since schools reopened in January, at least 18 fires have been reported around the country.

A fire at the New Crest Junior dormitory at Kibedi Day and Boarding Primary School in Kawempe killed four students in January.

Several additional persons were injured as a result of the incident.
In February, a 12-year-old kid died in a fire at Good Times Primary School in Kawaala, Kampala, and 14-year-old Emmanuel Muwumba perished only last week.

While the fire at Kibedi Day and Boarding Primary School in Kawempe in January originated while students were sleeping in the dormitory, the police preliminary assessment suggests that all of the other events occurred while students were out.

The 14-year-old senior student who died in a fire at St Joseph Senior Secondary-Nakanyonyi in Jinja last week, for example, was trapped while returning from the washroom.

When the fire broke out and the youngster was nude, he was afraid of being caught naked outside the dormitory, so he ran to fetch clothes, only to suffocate and perish in the fire.

The Police Director, on the other hand, stated that more investigations will be conducted into the circumstances in which the fires began, as it was discovered that they occurred after some pupils were suspended or, in other cases, due to a dispute between school owners.

“Students go on strike and are then penalized.” The next thing we hear is a school fire,” AIGP Mugisa said, noting that privately-owned schools are the most affected.

He responded by stating that only three of the 18 incidents involved government-sponsored schools.

Guidelines

Mugisa pointed out that, while the government has put in place standards to assist minimize school fires, schools have not followed them.

In most campuses, he noted, the dormitories are overcrowded, while the deckers are heaped high.

“It’s best to avoid cramming deckers and students into a hostel. Three deckers were going up in the Kawempe school fire, for example, and students were practically touching the ceiling. “In the event of an emergency, the students would be unable to flee, and many would be murdered in a rush,” Mugisa warned.

“Not only should dorms have acceptable escape routes, but they should also have an adequate evacuation plan in the event of an emergency.”

As a deterrent, schools should have surrounding fences and CCTV cameras put at key areas, according to the Police Director in Charge of Fire and Rescue Services. Students should also have their baggage checked before entering schools for materials such as matchboxes.

Schools have also been advised to keep an eye on suspended or expelled kids, as well as to keep an eye out for any information that could lead to misunderstandings with neighbors, and to report any such information to the police.

“In the event of a fire, schools should have portable fire extinguishers and other fire detection and alarm devices on hand.” Schools should also be built in a way that promotes fire safety, according to AIGP Mugisa.

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