Mmaphula JSS science block burns down

Fire fighters battling to put off the fires at Mmaphula JSS
Fire fighters battling to put off the fires at Mmaphula JSS

PALAPYE: Mmaphula Juniour Secondary School Science block was engulfed in flames from the fire that is alleged to have started in the Science Laboratory Block storeroom last Thursday.

The fire reportedly started during the day at around 1:30pm when the students were out for their lunchtime break.

According to the school head, Charles Ntaise, students who came running to the staff room block to report the smoke coming out of the science laboratory storeroom first noticed the incident. He said it started with a smoke followed by a heavy blast from the storeroom.

“When we got to the science block we saw the smoke and immediately a heavy blast from the inside of the storeroom followed by a huge fire.

We called the Palapye Emergency and Fire Department for assistance, as we could not risk coming close to the fire knowing very well that the science storeroom has different chemicals and other things that are highly flammable,” said Ntaise.

He said the science storeroom was not used on that day, as  the students were busy with their examinations. But he said the science lab was used until lunchtime when the students went for their lunch break.

He confirmed that the fire department responded a while later but at the time the fire was already moving into the laboratory.

“The storeroom is used on daily basis but on the day it was never opened as  the students are now writing their end of term examinations. The fire department responded after about 20 minutes and at the time the fire was ablaze and making way into the adjacent laboratory,” said Ntaise

He further said that  the fire outbreak caused panic in the school and the students were running around momentarily uncontrollably  but fortunately he said, a number of teachers came out and helped to arrest the situation.

Ntaise also confirmed that nothing was salvaged from the storeroom and in the laboratory only the ceiling was burnt down but students lockers on the block were not affected and they are yet to establish the cause of the fire and the degree of damage.

However, Leading Fireman, Emmanuel Kelennetse said they received a report of a fire outbreak from Mmaphula CJSS at around 1:50pm, and they responded immediately. He said that they arrived at the scene to find heavy fire flames in the storeroom and in the room adjacent.

“We arrived to find the flames coming out of the storeroom and the next room; the fire started from the storeroom and was spreading through a fibre glass ceiling into the next room, but we managed to get it under control before a lot of damage was done.

“It took us around 15 minutes to extinguish the fire,” he said and added that the storeroom was already burnt down except for the furniture in the laboratory was saved and the lockers were not affected,

Furthermore, Kelennetse said they would be barricading the area so that no one disturbs the scene and allow the area to cool down so that their fire investigators could come and establish the cause of the fire.

He therefore advised the public that in incidents of this nature, they should only try to put out the fire when it is at the early stages with their fire extinguishers.

He said that  when the fire becomes uncontrollable they must vacate the area to the fire assembly points and wait for the fire department to come and assist as even the smoke coming out from these fires have different gases that could affect people if inhaled and are very dangerous.

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