Sixteen students suffered burn injuries when a fire erupted inside a school building in Nothia on Thursday morning.
The fire started in the kitchen of Ali Model School near Nothia railways crossing at around 8:45am and soon engulfed the entire building where dozens of students were present in class rooms.
At least six students fell unconscious due to suffocation, while another 10 received burns and sustained injuries in the ensuing stampede. All 16 students were rushed to Lady Reading Hospital (LRH) where their condition was said to be stable.
Witnesses said the fire brigade was able to bring the inferno under control after 30 minutes of fire fighting. “The news of children stranded inside the school building caused panic among parents who rushed to the site,” said Sultan Khan, a resident.
He added the fire was extinguished in time and children rescued, but at least nine students sustained serious burn injuries.
Rescue 1122 officials blamed the school’s employees working in the kitchen for their negligence. The schools administration, however, said the fire erupted due to an electric short circuit.
The Home and Tribal Affairs Department has directed Peshawar’s deputy commissioner to initiate a formal inquiry to determine the causes behind the incident. The deputy has been asked to submit a report of his findings to the department immediately.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2013.