Makerere University's Main Building Burns

The origin of the fire that gutted down Makerere University’s iconic Main Building remains surrounded in mystery as different versions of where the fire emerge. This was compounded further by a second fire that broke out later on Sunday evening in the southern wing of the same building that had initially not been affected by the first fire.

In an interview with UBC TV, Hassan Kihanda, deputy director Fire and Rescue services said the second fire was caused by reignition of the debris from the first fire. Kihanda said the second fire was easily put out by the police and there was no cause for alarm despite social media reports that police had already left the scene by the time of the second fire. 

"It was a reignition, of course, if you put out a fire and do not remove the burnt debris…it can cause fire where you had not put another fire before," Kihanda said. 

The first fire that gutted three-quarters of the main building is suspected to have begun from the public relations office, according to the official reports following a closed-door meeting. While addressing journalists, the ministry of Education permanent secretary, Alex Kakooza, revealed that preliminary findings point to the fire having been started in the ceiling of the public relations office that was located in the right-wing on the topmost floor. 

"We know that this fire started around midnight in the office of the public relations department, then it went down to the university secretary's office and then it spread to the southern wing which houses the records," said Kakooza. 


However, some resident staff at the university who were among the first people to arrive at the scene, say that the fire begun in the finance department located on the first floor in the right-wing. Dennis Abed, one of the security guards at the university says he was off duty when he received a call from colleagues telling him that the building was on fire. He says on rushing there, the fire could be seen on the floor where some of the finance offices were located.  


However, other residents claim the fire started from the central registry offices located on the topmost floor of the left-wing. Wilson Amooti Kisembo, a resident staff says the fire spread from the central registry before it spread to the human resource department.