Machakos School was Tuesday indefinitely closed and the students sent home. This is to pave way for investigations regarding two fire incidents that transpired within a span of one week, affecting hundreds of students affected.
On Monday night, one dormitory in the boys’ national school was razed down by fire with properties of unknown value destroyed. The dormitory razed down dormitory is named “Mathendu”.
David Mwongela, Emergency services director in Machakos County Confirmed the incident. He said that the fire was a case of suspected arson. Mwongela said that the fire could have been started by students who were fearing exams.
“This is a case of student arson, they are fearing sitting for exams, it’s just a case of exam fever. Students belongings such as beddings and other personal effects were destroyed in the fire”.said the County Emergency Services Director.
Mwongela told the press that the fire broke out at around 9pm but was contained before it spread to other areas. He added that the brick made dormitory was squeezed, hosting many students. He also confirmed that no student was hurt in the incident.
On the 24th of June 2019, another dormitory in the school caught fire as students were having their supper. Mwongela had said the cause of fire was a suspected electric fault.
The parents of Machakos School were sent a text message to pick their children, “Dear parent/guardian, this is to inform you that we had another fire incident in Mathendu Interwing dormitory which houses 69 students. All the students are safe. Due to challenges in settling them, you are requested to come and pick your son tomorrow Tuesday, 2nd July 2019 by 10.00am to allow us investigate the root cause of the frequent fires. Sorry for the inconvenience caused.”.
Machakos County has a history of fires breaking out at school dormitories. Last year we reported a similar incident where a fire razed down a dormitory at the Katelembu Center of Excellence, another school within Machakos sub-county. The most tragic of these incidences was in Kyanguli Secondary School in March 2001. The tragedy at the school located near Mutituni shopping centre resulted in loss of life for 67 students.
15 years after the Kyanguli tragedy, High Court Justice Joseph Sergon would award 41 million shillings as compensation to parents of the students whose lives were lost in the tragedy. The judged found that the school management, as the agent of the government, had been negligent in not preventing the incident.
One night guard in Machakos school has since been arrested and is helping the police with investigations on the fire incident.