A dormitory of the St Charles Minor Seminary Senior High School in Tamale went up in flames Monday afternoon destroying students’ personal belongings, a development that is likely to render the students homeless.
The fire, which started at 12:29pm at the Cardinal Dery dormitory, completely burned eight of the nine rooms at a time that students were in class.
It took the intervention of personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service to control the fire and prevent it from burning the last room in the dormitory.
A similar fire outbreak at the school in March 2017 destroyed the school’s two-storey dormitory block, leaving the school with only two rooms as dormitories for the entire student population.
The situation forced authorities to convert some classroom blocks into dormitories as a temporary measure to house the about 500 student population as at November 2018.
At the school’s 65th anniversary celebration in November last year, the Headmaster of the school, Mr Polycarp Kuusokub Beyelle, expressed concern about inadequate accommodation facilities for students; something she said affected the school’s intake last academic year.
“Since the incident happened in March last year, I have written to the Ghana Education Trust Fund GETFund and other authorities but nothing has been done about it, although some officials came from the head office to inspect and make estimates of the cost involved.
“So far, it is only the old boys who have taken it upon themselves to renovate the few dormitories that are housing the students” he told the Daily Graphic.
The Cardinal Dery Dormitory was was renovated and handed over to the School just last week by the PTA.
178 students displaced
The destruction of another dormitory in Monday’s fire outbreak is likely to exacerbate the already dire accommodation situation in the school.
About 178 students have been displaced following the fire outbreak, the headmaster told 3news.com, noting this will affect enrolment next academic year.
“We cannot admit form one students next year because we don’t have the accommodation” he stated.
Northern Regional Minister Salifu Saeed who has visited the school to inspect the extent of damage say an emergency meeting will be convened to galvanize support for the students.
Some students told our correspondent Zubaida Ismail that they could only salvage a few items but most of their items including books, food, mattresses, trunks, and chop boxes were burnt to ashes.
“We saw smoke from the dormitory while we were in the class so we rushed to see if we could pick some of our things but we couldn’t”, Emmanuel Courage, a student said.
A combined team of fire fighters from the Tamale Teaching Hospital, Northern Regional Fire Headquarters, and the Tamale Metropolitan Fire Service extinguished the fire in about 30 minutes.
“We received a distress call at 12:39 and at 12:40. We dispatched the first appliance which is nearer to this place, we got here and found out that the fire was spreading so we dispatched the second appliance from the Tamale Metro and then added the third appliance from the regional headquarters to augment our staff strength and water,”, Northern Regional Fire Commander DO1 Emmanuel Ofori-Agyei told 3news.com