Fire guts down Kasungu Teachers’ Training College office block

Fierce fireSunday midnight razed to ashes Kasungu Teachers’ Training College (TTC) office block which was the Craft, Arts and Technology (CRT) department and housed 1200 mattresses that were being treated for bed bugs (nsikidzi).

Both the college principal, Staliko Chibw,e and Agriculture Trading Centre (ATC) Lilongwe Supervisor in the Pest Control Service Section which was hired to do the fumigation to the said mattresses, have confirmed about the development .

Reports indicate that the college management hired the services of ATC under its Pest Control Service Section to do the fumigation in the male and female hostels upon an outcry from the student teachers on the irritating insects which had affected their daily living at the campus for so long.

Students around the burnt office block - Pic by Dave Munkhondiya
Students around the burnt office block – Pic by Dave Munkhondiya

“We really hired the services of ATC who started the whole process on Saturday and were about to finish on Thursday.

“Along their operations, all mattresses were ordered to be removed from the respective hostels so that the said hostels could be treated properly,” explained Chibwe.

The principal further said the mattresses which were over 1000 which were still in the CRT room were being fumigated since Saturday 1 March till Thursday 6 March, 2014 when the process was winding up.

“It was just yesterday [Sunday] at around 11:30pm when I received a call from the college warden telling me that the said room was up in flames. This meant that a total number of 1200 mattresses which were inside plus other equipment’s in the room were burnt to ashes.

“We are puzzled as to the cause of the fire, but according to the fumigation process that was being carried out by ATC, they used gas which we suspect might have caused the outrageous fire,” wondered Chibwe.

He, however, said before ATC came in, they once engaged the services of the Environmental Health Office at the district hospital just last year in December when the issues of bed bugs went on and on where nothing dangerous like what had happened this time was registered.

Mana has established that the fire started as a bomb blast due to the reaction of gas which was sprayed, fire started emanating from the room which forced the alert student teachers who were still lingering around the campus to break the doors closer to the burning room.

Despite their brave two hours fighting to extinguish the fierce fire using the fire extinguisher, everything inside the room had been burnt to ashes.

“Boys started screaming after hearing the said blast like that of a bomb at around mid-night. We all run to the office block which also had all our mattresses inside it for fumigation to pull down the fire but we failed.

“They had to break the doors to rescue the belongings; their bravery proved nothing as the heavy fire overpowered them. Despite that, we managed to quench the fire at last even though a lot had been destroyed with themattresses all in ashes,” lamented the student president, Chancy Mwakilama.

Speaking in a telephone interview upon their arrival at the campus, ATC Supervisor in the Pest Control Service section Peter Tione said they are yet to establish the real cause of the fire which has destroyed a lot of properties.

“We were indeed hired for the said process, but unfortunately we agree that this has happened and we are still investigating and assess the root cause of the fire,” said Tione.

The college principal has so far called on the government and other well-wishers to intervene immediately to renovate the office block including the buying of mattresses which would cost over 30 million kwacha. The burning of mattresses means that the students would continue sleeping on the flow up until the problem is solved.

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