We know that a fire broke out at Salaama School for the Blind in Mukona District, killing at least eleven kids and critically injuring another six. The fire started at one in the morning, and the reason has not yet been determined, according to the police.
Deathly school fires, which frequently burn through dormitories, are extremely common in Uganda and frequently attributed to poor wiring, while authorities claim that some of these fires have been deliberately ignited.
The police also disclosed that there have been nearly 18 documented fire occurrences nationwide since January.
Police have begun looking into the circumstances behind the deaths of 11 youngsters at the Salama School for the Blind in Mukono after a dormitory was completely destroyed by fire.
Luke Owoyesigyire, a spokesman for the Kampala Metropolitan deputy police, reported that the fire broke out at 1 a.m. at the Salaama school for the blind in Luga Village, Ntanzi Parish, and Ntejeru Kisoga Town Council in Mukono district.
“The cause of the fire is currently unknown but so far 11 deaths as a result of the fire have been confirmed while six are in critical condition and admitted at Herona Hospital in Kisoga,” Owoyesigyire stated.
This incidence occurs at a time when nationwide incidents of school fires have significantly decreased. A total of 1,258 fire emergencies were handled in 2021 compared to 1,015 in 2020, which is a 23.9% increase, according to the Uganda Police 2021 Annual Crime Report.
Negligence, electrical short circuits, charcoal stoves, and unattended candles were among the leading causes of these fire events.
According to a recent police report, people with ulterior reasons deliberately start the majority of school fires.
The government has set in place standards to help minimize school fires, but according to the Police Director for Fire and Rescue Services, AIGP Joseph Mugisa, schools have not been following them.
In most campuses, he claimed, the dorms are overcrowded while the deckers are piled high.
“Packing of deckers and learners in a dormitory should be avoided. For example, in the Kawempe school fire, there were three deckers going up and learners were almost touching the ceiling. In case of emergency, the learners could not escape and many could be killed during a stampede,”Mugisa said.
“Dormitories should have adequate means of escape but there should also be adequate evacuation plan in case of any emergencies.”
According to the Police director in charge of fire and rescue services, schools should have perimeter fences and CCTV cameras installed at strategic locations as a deterrent measure. However, students should also have their bags checked for items like matchboxes and gasoline before entering schools.
Schools have also been urged to always keep an eye out for students who have been suspended or expelled, as well as to keep an eye out for any information that may point to misunderstandings with neighbors. In any case, the information should be reported to police so that they can take appropriate action.
Recently, Police and Vivo Energy teamed up to develop the “Cool Kids Stop Fires” fire safety education campaign, with the goal of lowering the frequency of fire outbreaks in schools and the ensuing injuries, fatalities, and property loss.