In Kenya, the rate at which schools have been burned has been increasing as years pass by. However, even with this negative trend, there some outstanding and worst fire tragedies to have occurred in Kenya’s secondary schools. The history of school fire in Kenya dates back in 1980’s and below we has listed some of the worst fire tragedies in Kenya’s secondary schools.
1. St Kizito Secondary School fire tragedy- July 13, 1991
The fire tragedy at St. Kizito Secondary School occurred on 13th July 1991. On this day there was school unrest as the male students failed to attend classes on the basis that the school denied them the chance to take part in the inter schools athletics championship which was being held at regional centre. Being a mixed school the girls did not participate in the boycott. Unlike the male students, the girls remained calm and watched from the safety of their dorms. The school administration assumed that the school unrest would subsidize with coming of the night. It later emerged that their assumption was wrong as the boys attacked the girl’s dormitory. On this fateful day 19 girls lost their lives and 70 more injured and raped. What had appeared as a normal school strike turned to be one of the worst tragedies. According to the New York Times, most of these girls were attacked in their dorm. The girls had actually locked themselves once they got the hint that they might be attacked. The boys accessed the dorm through the roof with an aim of picking out girls whom they accused of having relationship staff members. During that stampede 19 girls was crushed and suffocated by the rest as they sought for safety. A catastrophic night it was, the school was closed down. Although the school was later renamed to St. Cyprian Secondary School, to the people who lost their loved ones their loss will never be forgotten.
2. Bombolulu Girls High School fire tragedy 1998
The Bombolulu secondary school fire tragedy is also another of Kenya’s worts school tragedy. The school is located in Mombasa and the said fire tragedy occurred in 1998. At that time it was not clear what caused the fire, but years later it was discovered that the fire was caused by electrical fault. On that fateful night 26 girls were burned beyond recognition in a fire that blazed their dorm while others were crushed by the falling parts of the roof. There were contracting reports where it was reported that the dorm main door was locked from outside that is why the girls were not able to escape easily. On the other hand the matron of the school reported that the dorm was normally locked from inside. Since the girls were burned beyond recognition they were buried in mass grave , in a funeral attended by the then seating president Daniel Moi and hundreds of mourners. That night the dorm was having around 144 girls. The school later changed its name to Mazeras Memorial Secondary School
3. Nyeri High School fire tragedy- May 23, 1999
The fire at Nyeri High School is a good example of effects of negative peer influence. What happened on the night of May 23, 1999 would actually show how students with range could turn against their school mates. On this tragic night, four prefects were locked inside their cubicle in the dorm while they slept; the cubicle was soaked with petrol and set on fire. Due to the petrol the fire spread so fast and the four tried to escape but could not. They were later rescued but they all died due to the severe burns they sustained. The main grudge was that the student who caused the fire felt that they were being treated unfairly by the students hence they revenged.
4. Kyanguli Secondary School fire tragedy-March 27, 2001
Kyanguli secondary school fire tragedy is the worst to have ever happened in the country. This tragedy occurred on 27 March 2001, a night that 67 students lost their lives through an inferno caused by the students. The main suspects of Kyanguli fire tragedy were Felix Mambo and Davies Onyango. The two planned how they could burn one of the dorms so as to lead to early closing of school. Although they never intended to cause any harm their action ended up killing their colleagues. The scene of the crime was a sad one, with body burned beyond recognition and as reported by Standard newspaper, some few bodies were piled up on a certain window as they tried to pull down its grills to get out. The main doors were locked from outside, something that led to the death of 67 students, 21 were injured and 70 survived. .
5. Asumbi Girls Boarding Primary School fire tragedy-Aug 22, 2012
Asumbi Girls Boarding Primary School fire tragedy is also one of the worst in Kenya. The cause of fire was as a result of electric fault. The fire began at around 8 pm , minutes after the girls have slept. The fire spread fast and since they were locked in the dorm they could not get out immediately. In this tragedy, 8 girls lost their lives.
6. Endarasha Boys Secondary School fire tragedy-October 17, 2010
On the fateful night on 17 October 2010, students set ablaze a dorm having 180 students on the grievances that the school had not set up enough social amenities. Engraved with range that their school was not meeting their demands, few students sneaked from the school and bought petrol form the nearby market. In the wee hours of the night fire was started and two students were burnt and the rest managed to save their lives.
7. Step joy Boys Boarding School fire tragedy- August 3, 2015
Two boys lost their lives after the dorm they were sleeping in was set on fire by some students.
8. Moi Girls School fire tragedy- September 3, 2017
The fire tragedy at Moi Girls School is one of the recent worst fire tragedies in Kenya’s Secondary Schools. Eight students lost their lives and several others were injured. The fire was suspected to have been caused a disobedient girl who started by burning some parts on the ground floor of a form one dorm having more than 300 students.