At least 11 people, mostly children, have died in a blaze that tore through a dormitory at a school for the blind in eastern Uganda as pupils were sleeping, officials said.
The disaster occurred at about 1am on Tuesday (22:00 GMT Monday) at the Salama School for the Blind in Mukono district’s Luga village, east of the capital, Kampala.
“The cause of the fire is currently unknown but so far 11 deaths as a result of the fire have been confirmed while six are in critical conditions and admitted [to hospital],” the Uganda Police Force said on Twitter.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown but so far 11 deaths as a result of the fire have been confirmed while 6 are in critical conditions and admitted at Herona Hospital in Kisoga .
More details will be availed as soon as Possible.
— Uganda Police Force (@PoliceUg) October 25, 2022
Police added that an investigation had been launched and more details would be released later.
“Most of the dead are children at the school and our sympathies go to the parents,” internal affairs minister General Kahinda Otafiire told AFP news agency.
He said the school has been cordoned off as a “crime scene” and promised accountability.
“As government, we shall go to the root cause of the fire and if there are any culprits they will be apprehended and the law will take its course,” he added.
Caught while sleeping
The school’s head teacher Francis Kirube, who is also blind, told AFP the flames swept through the dormitory as the pupils slept.
Images broadcast on Ugandan television showed a charred but still largely intact building where the fire broke out, its window frames and door blackened and the corrugated roof damaged.
Forensic teams were seen in white protective gear at the school while grieving parents gathered nearby.
Salama was built in April 1999 by the local government in Mukono and serves children and young adults between the ages of six and 25.
Uganda has suffered a string of deadly school fires in recent years.
In November 2018, 11 boys died and another 20 suffered severe burns in a suspected arson attack at a boarding school in southern Uganda.
In April 2008, 18 schoolgirls burned to death along with one adult when a fire engulfed their dormitory at a junior school near the Ugandan capital.
In March 2006, at least 13 children were killed and several hurt when a fire razed a religious school in western Uganda. In July of the same year, six children died in a similar fire in the east.