A devastating incident unfolded on a Monday morning in Masaka City, as a fire engulfed a boys’ dormitory at Kasaana Junior School, claiming the lives of seven young souls, according to confirmed reports by local authorities.
The initial count of casualties, as of the end of Monday, stood at four, with the victims identified as Aloysius Ahebwa and Katende Malik, both pre-primary pupils among them. However, the grim tally continued to climb into Tuesday afternoon, as authorities confirmed three more fatalities resulting from the tragic blaze.
Preliminary investigations indicated that the fire had started due to a short circuit, originating from a phone charger used by the dormitory’s matron, Christine Adong.
The additional casualties were identified as Hillary Walugembe (Top Class), Austin Kisomosi, Martin Muganga, Jordan Ssendagire, and Arnold Tumwesigye (P1). The heart-wrenching incident unfolded in the Nyendo Mukungwe Division of Masaka City, leaving the community in mourning.
The dormitory, which bore the brunt of the blaze, housed approximately 15 children from Top and P1 classes, as revealed by the police.
In response to the tragic event, law enforcement authorities are now emphasizing the importance of school proprietors adhering to state recommendations to prevent such devastating fires.
Southern region deputy police commander SP Jamada Wandera stressed the need for school directors to ensure compliance with Ministry of Health and Education guidelines.
These guidelines include measures like not having burglar-proofing in dormitories and using double, not triple-decker beds to enhance safety within school premises.
SP Wandera expressed hope that a detailed investigation would uncover the root cause of the tragic incident. He assured the public that the police were committed to determining the circumstances leading to this heart-wrenching loss of young lives.
“Institution of investigations into the root cause of this fire that has claimed such a number of our pupils is underway, and we shall be able to provide a comprehensive report,” he pledged.
The tragic incident in Masaka City has raised concerns in Uganda, particularly in light of a series of fires that have occurred in various learning institutions across the country during the month of October.
These events serve as a stark reminder of the importance of fire safety measures in schools and the need for vigilant prevention strategies to protect the lives of students.