Friday, 24 August 2012

TSC sacks officers over Asumbi tragedy

By Standard Digital Reporter
The Teachers Service Commission
(TSC) has sacked Homabay County
Director of Education Beatrice Asiango
and District Education Officer William
Okumu over Asumbi Primary fire
tragedy that killed 8 pupils.
The Schools’ Board of Governors has
also been dissolved following the
Wednesday night inferno.
TSC is also set to take action on the
schools head teacher for violating
tuition ban.
On Thursday, Education Minister
Mutula Kilonzo had directed his PS to
take disciplinary action against Homa
Bay director of education for the
death of eight children in a dormitory
fire.
Mutula had recommended that the
county director, the school head
teacher and the management board
be disciplined for failing to adhere to
the national policy on holiday tuition.
“I have instructed the PS to institute
disciplinary action against the
concerned. This is a tragic incident
that should not have happened,” said
Mutula on Thursday.
Eight students were burned alive
inside their dormitory on Wednesday
after it caught fire and were unable to
run to safety because the door to the
hostel was locked from outside.
Witnesses say the young girls at St
Theresa’s Asumbi Girls Boarding
Primary in Homabay County,
screamed for help as the inferno
raged but there was no rescue nearby
at the school managed by Catholic
nuns.
It was not immediately clear as to why
the pupils were locked up as the
tragedy visited the school only two
weeks after Education ministry
banned holiday tuition.
The ninth victim, who was rescued by
villagers from the fierce fire, was
rushed to Homabay District Hospital in
a critical condition.
Initial investigations pointed at a tree
which fell on an electricity line before
the fire started.
The girls who had retired to bed were
burnt beyond recognition as their
colleagues in an adjacent dormitory
scampered for safety for fear of losing
their lives in a fire that started shortly
after 8PM.
The burned dormitory had its
windows grilled with wire mesh and
did not have emergency exit.
During the incident, tens of locals
responded to the girls’ distress calls
and forced their way into the
institution after the watchman at the
gate declined to open for them, only
to find the dormitory door locked
from outside with a padlock.
“The dormitory was on fire, we broke
the padlock and one girl managed to
come out burning and she collapsed
on reaching outside. She was rushed
by an ambulance to Homabay District
Hospital,” said William Otieno, one of
the first people to arrive at the scene.
George Owino a villager, said three of
the girls died on one bed, two bodies
were lying on the floor and the others
in a corner near the door.

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