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Commission to investigate fire outbreaks constituted

m_Commission to investigate fire outbreaks constituted

After several fire outbreaks emerging in the city of Kigali and some rural areas of Rwanda, in the last few days, a taskforce composed of Rwanda National Police (RNP), Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA), Rwanda Housing Authority and the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA) has been constituted to investigate the possible causes.

Rwanda has seen more fire outbreaks in the last two months with some of them gutting businesses worth millions, prisons cells put to ashes, and schools getting burnt to the ground. The peak of these cases has been witnessed this July with at least a fire out break reported every week.

Unexpected fire broke out and consumed four hectares of land in Gatsibo district, a calamity claimed to have been started by some children making fire in the forest; according to the Police on 14th July2012.

Two schools in Ruhango District, Southern Province, were in the same range of time, last year, ravaged by fires in two separate incidents. With the first case seen at Byimana School of Sciences, in Ruhango district which reduced a dormitory to ashes, destroying property worth millions was destroyed in the dormitory that housed 155 O-Level male students.

The other case was at College Bethel (also known as APARUDE – the Association des Parents de Ruhango pour la Promotion de l’Education) broke out destroying a dormitory and property including students’ bedding and scholastic materials.

The most recent cases this early July 2014 have been seen in Muhanga prison, Gisenyi prison (where at least five inmates died), Kigali commercial zone-‘Quartier Matteus’, Nyabugogo Taxi park, a factory owned by Cristal Bottling Company in Bugesera among others.

Residents of Kigali have been tensed with panic and the rampage of the fires has, in rumors been linked to anti-government forces like the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

However, officials of the ministry of disaster management and Police investigations indicate that electricity installations in these affected facilities were either sub-standard, outdated or were badly installed, most likely, by lay-professionals. Welding works, candles and charcoal stoves are other contributors of fire outbreak.

The taskforce will, therefore, implement the instructions of the Prime Minister, the existing infrastructure standards and in line with the safety and security governing facilities and housing construction in the country.

The investigation team will also be scaled-up to other parts of the country.

In the meantime, Rwanda national police has appealed to the members of the public to continue with their usual cooperation in the investigation process. We encourage you to call in time, Police Fire and Rescue Unit on our rescue lines so as to contain the fire on time.

The government safety measures require that each house has an extinguisher and fire exits, and install and smoke alarms; and in public transport, each commercial transport vehicle should do likewise.

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