Fire Guts Jinja School Leaving One Dead
The fire at St Joseph Senior Secondary School in Jinja City on Tuesday night killed one student. PHOTOS/PHILIP WAFULA

On Tuesday night, a fire gutted a dormitory at St Joseph Senior Secondary School in Jinja City, killing one student.

One student on Tuesday night was reported dead after a fire gutted a dormitory at St Joseph Senior Secondary School in Jinja City.

Emmanuel Muwumba, 14, was in his Senior One. He was reportedly bathing when he suddenly saw the fire. According to sources, he succumbed to suffocation as he tried to pick up clothes to wear before running out.

The dormitory housed about 35 students. According to Mr Emmanuel Bagimba, the school head, the incident happened at a time when a big number of them were engaged in sports.

“Being a public holiday Women’s Day, most of the students at that time were engaged in sports, but three students remained in the dormitory, including the deceased,” he said.

“The deceased returned from home at around 4:30 pm and by 6:30 pm, he was dead. On that fateful day, I heard my deputy asking him if he had improved and if he had carried enough things from home to eat and he said the mother was bringing them this Sunday on visitation day.

Bagimba said the outbreak was reported by one female student who raised an alarm that drew several students and teachers to the scene.

He revealed that two other students who were in the same dormitory at the time rushed out but he (Muwumba) opted to first get dressed with fear of running out naked.

“Two of his colleagues managed to escape from the dormitory, but unfortunately, because he feared to run out naked and opted to first get dressed, he didn’t survive,” he revealed.

Bagimba who was not sure about the cause of the fire raised fears that the school’s competitors might have had a hand in the incident indicating that many are jealous about the school’s meteoric rise in enrollment and performance.

He, however, stressed that the school has already engaged the parents of the deceased and that they will cater for all expenses related to the burial.

This is one of the many incidents of school fires that have happened in recent weeks with the most recent one witnessed at Bilal Islamic School in Bwaise on Sunday, February 27, 2022. 

Two dormitories were burnt and several other properties also diminished in the process as learners were attending evening preps.

Since the latest reopening of schools following a series of locks down, more than five school-related fires have been reported. 

The Education Ministry last week called on schools to be cautious and vigilant saying it is the only way they can tackle the ongoing problem of school fires.

The Minister of State for Education and Sports in charge of Primary Education, Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu raised caution while officiating at the Stir Education – MCF Secondary Project conference at Kampala Serena Hotel. 

She said as well, schools should boost their security system. 

“Every school is supposed to have a secure and non porous perimeter fence, we are supposed to have a perimeter fence that cannot allow somebody to jump over. I want to remind our administrators, we need controlled access to the premises in schools,” she said.

“Another measure that was put in place is to ensure safety within the premises is that schools should recruit guards and they should be vetted. They should be trained in basic security and safety measures,” she added.