Sunday evening, a second fire broke out on the West Wing of Makerere University main building. The floor on fire houses the Council Room.
The new fire broke out in the eastern wing which houses the University Council offices- the supreme governing body. Raging flames could be seen from the windows of the Council rooms as large plumes of smoke billow into the sky.
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.
— UBC UGANDA (@ubctvuganda) September 20, 2020
Kihanda said the second fire was easily put out by the police and there was no cause for alarm
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
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, the Observer reported.
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.
Our alma mater, @MakerereU, financial, audit & HR records are at the heart of an institution. Every modern institution has a backup of these records. Its sad that the fire in the main building started at an awkward hour and from a place with less human traffic. Govt Investgate
— Prof. V Baryamureeba (@baryamureeba) September 20, 2020
Alex Kakooza, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Education told journalists that less than half of the documents that were kept in the building had been digitalized. Most of the documents that are as old as the university had been kept in the central registry and had not yet been digitalized.
“Some documents could have been saved. But there are some that will be hard to reconstruct, especially those very old files relating to individuals kept at the registry,” Kakooza said.
Jackie Keirungi Ayorekire, the head of planning and investment at Makerere University told URN ‘’ although they have off-campus data servers, they do not know how much could have been saved there at the moment’’