Property worth millions lost in Iganga school fire

The girls' dormitory at St. Paul SS in Iganga which was consumed by fire on Thursday morning

IGANGA, UGANDA: Property estimated in millions were lost in the fire that gutted the girls’ dormitory (Florence Wakula girls dormitory) at St. Paul secondary school at Nasuuti village, Nambale Sub-county in Iganga district.

The cause of the incident which occurred on Thursday morning was yet to be established but police have since kicked off investigations to ascertain what exactly cause the distressing fire.

The deputy headteacher Mr Balyaino Lastone says they got information about the fire outbreak in the morning at around 11:30 am when the dormitory which houses girl students from various classes caught fire and property lost.

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“We got the information about the fire at around 11:300am when students ran to us to report the incident and we managed to save the next dormitory from catching fire, however, nothing was rescued from the structure which houses students from different classes,” Mr Balyaino said adding that no life was lost in the incident.

However, a number of affected students were distressed and rushed to Iganga general hospital at Nakavule for medication after fainting, given the unfortunate incident which consumed their books, academic credentials, bedding, and unspecified sums of money, among others.

The police fire brigade team was at the scene to contain the fire from spreading to other buildings

Mukisa Collins, a student at the school in senior four said some of his friends lost primary seven pass slips which they have been keeping in their boxes while others are worried about losing their books when they are approaching examination time.

The incident attracted various district officials including Mr Gabula Ezera, the LCV chairperson and his deputy Mr Mukacha Halid who responded and rushed fainting students to various health centers, particularly Iganga general hospital.

“We were shocked after getting this information, good enough the students were in classrooms. This is one of the buildings which were constructed between 2022 and 2023, however, we’re yet to establish the cause of this fire since the police are on the ground to investigate,” Mr Mukacha said.

The District Education Officer(DEO) Iganga district Mr. Kasadakawo Baker arrived at the scene and promised to convene meetings with authorities to see how the students can be assisted citing that the school board and the district will strive to find a solution.

“One of the wings for the girls’ dormitory caught fire today’s morning and all property was destroyed but fortunately no one was consumed in this fire and others who fainted are undergoing treatment and reports indicate that they are out of danger,”

“We haven’t yet established the cause of the fire but the police are on the ground and we shall have a number of meetings with the board, and police, among others to see what we can do for our students,” Mr Kasadakawo said on Thursday adding that board and district will see how to provide students with some necessities.

Some of the community members who turned up to witness the incident on Thursday morning

Police say investigations have started to establish what exactly caused the unfortunate incident which affected a dormitory which has been housing over 100 students. According to Busoga East police spokesperson SSP Diana Nandawula, police arrived at the scene to put out the frames despite alerting them late.

“The dormitory which was burned down was housing over 100 students who were in classrooms by the time of the incident. Police were called to put out the fire though we have learnt that the school delayed informing us about the matter which led to total loss of property but we managed to prevent fire from spreading to the next dormitory,” SSP Nandawula said before assuring that investigations are underway to discover the cause of fire.

She also urged school administrations to always possess fire extinguishers which can assist in fighting the fire while at the initial stage before it can become uncontrollable. Ms Nandawula also advised them to inform the police in time whenever such incidents happen to avoid total loss of property.

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By the time of filing this story on Thursday evening, some leaders in the Iganga district had responded with relief items to the school while others had since promised to stand with the school in the trying moment.

Iganga district NRM Chairperson Hajj Walubi Abubakar managed to lobby and delivered 22 mattresses from the State Minister for Agriculture and Member of Parliament for Kigulu North constituency Hon Bwino Fred Kyakulaga plus 10 mattresses from Iganga woman member of parliament Hon. Kauma Sauda Alibaawo.

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