SIX pupils of Army Boarding Primary School in Gadhafi Barracks in Jinja municipality died after their dormitory caught fire on Monday night. The 11:00pm incident happened when most of the children were sleeping.
SIX pupils of Army Boarding Primary School in Gadhafi Barracks in Jinja municipality died after their dormitory caught fire on Monday night.
The 11:00pm incident happened when most of the children were sleeping.
The burnt dormitory was housing 270 pupils of the lower primary section (P.1 and P.2).
The army identified the dead as Patrick Okiror of P.2, Jimmy Mugizi P.2, Emmanuel Bukenya P.1, Jovan Kiryabwire P.2, Sam Achira P.2 and Steven Muhwezi of P.2.
A witness, who preferred anonymity, said she woke up in the night to screams similar to those of birds, coming from the direction of the dormitory.
â€œI rushed out, only to see huge flames of fire rising from the dormitoryâ€™s rooftop. I realised the wails were being made by children locked up in the dormitory,â€ the witness said.
When The New Vision reached the school premises early yesterday morning, the entire tiled roof had curved in and smoke was still billowing from the smouldering rafters.
Metallic boxes, half-burnt mattresses and books littered the surroundings.
Emotions ran high when gloved UPDF personnel moved into the destroyed dormitory and carried out the charred remains of the six victims burnt beyond recognition
The remains were wrapped into blankets and placed on the veranda.
Scores of parents and sympathisers, mostly women, could not hold back their tears.
The school authorities had to assemble and rollcall all the distraught pupils before they could identify the dead.
Jonathan Musomoka, the head teacher, who was still in shock, said most of the pupilsâ€™ property was destroyed as they fought to save the pupils.
Major Felix Kulaigye, the army spokesperson, said preliminary findings indicated that the inferno could have been sparked off by a charcoal stove.
â€œThere was a burning charcoal stove that was left unattended to. It is suspected that since it was by the wall, the oil paint melted and burnt and lit up the wooden ceiling boards,â€ Kulaigye said.
He said one child with minor burns, had been treated and discharged by press time.
â€œWe will put up a commission of inquiry and investigate the actual cause of this tragedy. Those found responsible will be punished accordingly,â€ he added.
Jinja pupils die in fire