Four children die in Kawempe school fire, others critically injured

Four Children have died in a night fire at New Crest Primary School in Kawempe Division (PHOTO /Courtesy)

KAMPALA — A fire has on Saturday morning killed four schoolchildren and injured others at a primary school dormitory in Kawempe, police said.

Several other pupils were rescued from the blaze and rushed for medical attention at the nearby clinic. Three of them were in critical condition.

Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said on Saturday, January 15 that the school administration did not report the fire incident and but chose to extinguish it themselves.

He said Police have opened a criminal file against those who were in charge.

“The territorial Police of Kawempe are actively investigating a fire outbreak at New Crest Junior at Kibedi Day and Boarding Primary School in Kawempe Division Kampala City, where four children have been confirmed dead,” said Owoyesigyire in a statement.

Owoyesigyire said it is alleged the fire started at around 3:00am Saturday (January 15, 2022) from one of the female pupils’ dormitory.

“Four female pupils have been confirmed dead while three are seriously injured. The injured were evacuated to Kyadondo Hospital located in Kisowera Zone Kawempe I Ward in Kawempe Division, and are being treated there accordingly,” Owoyesigyire added.

He said the school administration tried to locally manage the fire outbreak and did not bring it to the attention of the nearest police at Kawempe.

“This is an act of gross negligence that caused the death and injuries of the pupils. A case file of causing death has been opened at Kawempe police station. Our forensic team of experts from the Directorate of Fire and from the Forensics are documenting the scene,” Owoyesigyire said.

By Saturday morning, several parents who had children at the school were camped at the school’s gate as they tried to establish the state of their children.

The fire incident comes five days after schools reopened across the country in a phased manner – starting January 10, 2022.

Police said its thoughts and prayers are with the families of the dead pupils, and wished quick recovery to the injured pupils.

Students returned to the classroom in Uganda on Monday after an 83-week hiatus brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government says around 15 million children were affected by the world’s longest school closure.

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