Fire has destroyed a two-storey dormitory, accommodating 503 students of the St Charles Minor Seminary and Senior High School in Tamale in the Northern Region.
The affected students included 228 final-year students who began their West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) yesterday, March 22, 2017.
The fire is said to have started at about 9:30p.m last Tuesday when the students were at preps.
The affected occupants of the dormitory are traumatised and left stranded as the school’s authorities grapple to find them accommodation, mattresses and clothing.
The fire destroyed all the belongings of the students in the building except those at the ground floor, who were able to salvage some few items from their rooms.
When contacted, the Headmaster of the school, Mr Polycarp Kuusokub Beyelle, said the fire started at the blind side of both the students and the school authorities as the former were at preps when the incident occurred.
He said the students usually went for preps at 7:30p.m and returned at 9:45p.m.
Mr Beyelle added that it was upon the return of the students that they detected the fire in the building.
According to him, the school was left with only two rooms as dormitory for the entire student population, noting that the situation would create a lot of discomfort for the school to house the students.
He said as a temporary measure, the school would send all the continuing students home from March 22 in order to use their dormitories for the final-year students.
He, however, said the continuing students would return to school on March 28, this year.
Mr Beyelle explained that during the period that the continuing students would be away, the school would convert some classrooms into dormitories.
He has, therefore, appealed to the government and benevolent organisations to assist the school to provide accommodation, mattresses and clothing for the affected students.
Mr Beyelle also appealed to the continuing students who were not affected by the fire to share their books with the final-year students.
Meanwhile, the Northern Regional Director of Education, Alhaji Haroun Mohammed Cambodia, has promised that the Regional Education Directorate would provide 100 mattresses for the final-year students.
He expressed worry that the fire incident could affect the morale of the final-year students, since most of them had lost their books and belongings.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Northern Regional Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO1) Nicholas Pokoo-Aikins, said the fire might have been caused by either a faulty electrical installation or through illegal connections.
He said the personnel from the GNFS were called to the scene at about 9:40p.m. and spent close to four hours to bring the fire under control.
Mr Pokoo-Aikins explained that the fire started from the first floor of the building and spread to the second and ground floors due to the strong winds.
He said preliminary investigations had revealed that the school had a faulty fuse in the meter on the building.
The PRO also indicated that wrong connections of electronic gadgets, such as mobile phones and water heaters by the students could have started the fire.
Mr Pokoo-Aikins has, therefore, advised the school’s authorities to monitor the activities of the students and the electrical installations in the school.
He said the same building suffered a fire outbreak on the ground floor in 2016.