Kenya: Parents Dash to Troubled St Annes School

25 February 2021

Anger and frustration engulfed the scene at St Annes Girls Boarding School in Nairobi after an early morning fire razed one of the dormitories.

Worried parents rushed to the scene to inquire about the safety of their children and had to be calmed by Buru Buru Deputy OCPD Stephen Okal after the institution's deputy principal refused to talk to them.

"I can assure you no student was injured and no one was taken to the hospital because of the fire. The school board is meeting and they will address you soon," Okal said.

According to one parent who had rushed to the school, the deputy principal was new in the school and they didn't even know her name.

"All we want is to see our children and make sure they are not injured, why are you locking us out yet there has been an incident?" she wondered.

Another parent said she saw several students who couldn't walk on their own being escorted by their friends to a different room.

Firefighters from the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) with the assistance of members of the public rushed to the scene and succeeded in putting out the fire.

The fire is said to have started at around 6:30am. It reduced one of the dormitories that houses 112 students from different classes almost to ashes.

Makadara Critical Infrastructure Protection Unit Commander (CIPU) James Kariuki said the fire started from a cubicle before it spread to the whole dormitory.

"St Teresa dormitory which houses 112 students from different forms was on fire. Property of unknown value was damaged. We are yet to establish the cause of the fire," he said.

Some of the shocked students were rushed to Makadara Health Centre for first aid and counselling.

This writer and a photographer who had managed to access the accident scene were threatened and kicked out.

"Who gave you the permission to come and take pictures here? If I see anything in the media about this we will sue you," the deputy principal said.

She then instructed two security guards to come and escort this writer and his photographer out of the school compound.

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