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Fire destroys dormitories of St Charles Minor Seminary-Students sent home

BY: Mohammed Fugu
The dormitories that were destroyed in the fire outbreak
The dormitories that were destroyed in the fire outbreak

Authorities of the St Charles Minor Seminary Senior High School in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital, have asked first and second-year students to go home and return on Tuesday April 9, following a fire outbreak at the school last Monday afternoon that completely burnt its two dormitories.

However, final year students who are preparing for the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) are to remain and continue with their studies.

The Northern Regional Directorate of the Ghana Education Service (GES) took the decision after the fire outbreak at the school on Monday afternoon.

Most of the belongings of the students, including books,beds, mattresses and clothing were destroyed by the fire.

The students were said to have slept in the open under trees on the first night of the fire outbreak.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known but reports suggested that it started at about 12:00 p.m. when the students were in class.

Dormitories

The two dormitory blocks, which house more than 200 boys, were razed down as the students could not salvage a single item from the rooms.

 The Daily Graphic had gathered that the final year students preparing for the WASSCE were the most affected as they reportedly lost all their books and personal belongings in the fire.

According to some of the students, they saw smoke coming out of the building when they were in their classrooms and immediately informed their teachers.

Personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service (GFS), who were immediately called to the scene, managed to control the fire from spreading to other buildings.

Appeal

The Northern Regional Director of the GES,  Alhaji Mohammed Haroun Cambodia, told the Daily Graphic that the two-week break was to enable the directorate and management of the school to renovate some existing  structures  and convert some classrooms  into sleeping places to accommodate the students in the interim.

He expressed worry about the situation and appealed to the government and benevolent organisations to as a matter of urgency come to the aid of the school by providing the students with decent accommodation to continue with academic activities.

He also encouraged final year students to focus on their examinations and not allow the incident to distract them.

For his part, the Headmaster of the school, Mr Polycarp Kuusokub Beyelle, said the woes of the students had been worsened as a dormitory block that was gutted by fire in the school in 2017 was yet to see any renovation.

“It will be very difficult for us because the dormitory block that was burnt two years ago is still there, this will affect intake of students this year if nothing is done about it,” he stated.

Investigation

The Northern Regional Commander of the GNFS, Divisional Officer One (DO1), Mr Emmanuel Ofori, told the Daily Graphic that personnel who were dispatched to the scene upon a distress call had a tough time bringing the fire under control because there were combustible materials in the rooms.

He indicated that investigation had begun to establish the cause of the fire, saying “it is too early to determine the cause of the fire so we are interviewing the students and also checking the electrical installations”.