Pupils injured as girl sets hostel on fire
By Temba Dube
BULAWAYO – A number of pupils were reportedly injured when a Form Three pupil at Bulawayo’s Eveline Girls High School allegedly set a dormitory on fire.
The pupil (name withheld) allegedly set Langdon Hostel on fire twice on Sunday afternoon. Pupils at the school said the girl who torched the hostel had earlier on the day swore that someone was going to die.
She is reported to have disappeared from the school after the incident.
“She is temperamental. On the day of the fires, she was angry about something and she said someone was going to die that day. She started the first fire when we were having lunch, around 1pm. The Fire Brigade was called and the fire fighters managed to put out the fire,” said a pupil.
An official at the school said when the fire was put out, the girl went missing and was found later in her dormitory.
“We are told other pupils were angry with her because they suspected that she had started the fire. She was taken to sleep with the matron to protect her from other pupils. However, a second more serious fire started around 8pm and a number of pupils got injured during a stampede to get out of the dormitory, when the fire alarm went off. Ambulances from Mars, Emras and Netstar had to be called to rush them to hospital,” said the official.
Another official said the pupil later disappeared from the dormitory and when her father was called the following morning, he said it was good riddance because she was a problem child.
Contacted for comment, Bulawayo’s chief fire officer Mr Richard Peterson confirmed that the Fire Brigade was called to the school twice on Sunday.
“We are not yet sure who was responsible. We have told school authorities to work with the police to identify the culprit and find out why the person did it. This person is dangerous. The second incident was very bad because some pupils got injured,” said Mr Peterson.
He said pupils were lucky that the Fire Brigade was called on time. “If the fires had managed to penetrate the ceiling it could have been a big disaster. We have arranged with the school to set a day when we can meet with the pupils to educate them on the dangers of starting such fires,” said Mr Peterson.
Neither the number of pupils who were injured nor the extent of the damage to the dormitory could be established.
The school’s headmistress, Mrs Rosemary Moyo, could not be reached for comment as she was said to be out of office yesterday and on Tuesday. The provincial education director for Bulawayo, Mr Dan Moyo, confirmed that he had received a report about the issue.
However, he had a different version of events and spoke of one incident.
“I do not have the full details but I understand a pupil left something on, in the ironing room where there is a television set for pupils. I understand that is what started the fire,” said Mr Moyo.
The police spokesperson for Bulawayo, Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo, said police were investigating the matter.
“We are investigating a fire incident that occurred at a city school on Sunday. More information would be released in due course,” said Insp Moyo. The Chronicle