Police in Uganda are investigating the cause of a fire at a boarding school for visually impaired students that killed 11 girls, ages four to 13.
The fire at the Salama School for the Blind in Uganda’s central Mukono district broke out shortly after midnight Monday, in a girl’s dormitory that was occupied by 17 children.
Kampala deputy police spokesman Luke Owoyesigire said police have deployed a forensics team that will carry out DNA tests before the bodies of the dead children are handed over to family members.
“The cause of the fire is currently unknown. But so far, eleven deaths as a result of the fire have been confirmed. While six are in critical condition,” Owoyesigire said.
The Salam School for the Blind, in the town of Kisoga, is home to 70 visually impaired children.
Hudson Kiyaga, the town’s mayor, told VOA the fire at the isolated school has left members of the neighboring community in shock. Kiyaga said the school’s power switch is in the matron’s room, but she did not know what started the fire. The matron escaped the blaze, but was unable to save any students.
Charles Nkuse, a school board member, said the school headmaster called him at 12:15 a.m. to tell him the school was on fire and children had died.