350 Kitui students sent home as fire razes dorm
All students at Kauma Mixed Secondary School in Matinyani district of Kitui county have been sent home after a fire gutted a dormitory on Sunday night. School principal Charles Mwangangi said the students, numbering about 350, were sent home early for half-term break to facilitate investigations into the cause of the 9pm fire that reduced to ashes all the property in the 58-bed capacity dormitory.
Matinyani DC John Kijo said he suspects the students had a hand in the incident. ''I have directed the CID to conduct a thorough investigation into the fire that caused massive destruction of the dormitory. I understand the students were scheduled to proceed for the half-term break in two weeks time," the DC said.
Kijo vowed that should investigations establish that the fire was as a result of students’ indiscipline, whoever was responsible would "pay dearly". Mwangangi said it was too early to quantify the extent of the damage caused by the fire but he insisted that it was colossal as nothing was salvaged. Kijo said the fire broke out at around 9pm when the students were attending evening preps in their classrooms. He said by the time the alarm was raised and the students dashed to fight the fire it was too late to salvage anything.
Kitui OCPD Lillian Okiembo said she did not have enough information on the incident but was expecting a brief from her officers who were on the ground collecting details. Mwangangi said since some of the students were traumatised, the school management decided to send the students home indefinitely so that they may heal. He said the absence of the students will also allow investigators to do their job.
The Kauma fire incident takes place only a week after another night fire reduced to ashes a dormitory Kyondoni Girls’ Secondary School in Kitui West district, leaving 200 students with nowhere to sleep. The principal of the school put the value of the damage at Sh10 million and appealed for help. The 500 Kyondoni students returned yesterday after a one-week recess following the fire that the school management blamed on an electic fault.