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Monday, May 27, 2024

Massive Fire at Girls’ School in Haripur

A fire at a girls' school in Haripur, KP, led to the safe evacuation of over 1,000 students, with no casualties reported.

On Monday morning, a significant fire broke out at the Government Girls’ High Secondary School in Sirikot village, Haripur district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). According to local sources, more than 1,000 female students were inside the building when the fire started. The blaze raged for over two hours before being extinguished by fire and rescue officials. Despite the intensity of the fire, no casualties were reported.

Fire and rescue teams from Haripur and Ghazi Tehsil Municipal Administrations (TMAs) were dispatched to the site, although some vehicles faced delays due to the mountainous terrain. Mobile phone footage showed massive plumes of smoke and falling debris from the school’s roof as locals gathered outside the building. Rashid, a father of one of the students, suggested a short circuit as a potential cause, noting that his daughter saw sparks from the roof just before the fire spread.

Prompt Response and Rescue Efforts

The swift response from Rescue 1122 ensured the safe evacuation of nearly 1,400 students and staff members. Rescue 1122 spokesperson Faraz Jalal confirmed that while the school building, furniture, and records were extensively damaged, there were no injuries. Local residents played a crucial role in the evacuation, aiding firefighters in bringing the situation under control.

KP Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur took immediate notice of the incident, instructing the provincial education department and district administration to investigate the cause and submit a detailed report. He emphasized the need to repair the school promptly to resume academic activities. The chief minister also announced a comprehensive review of all educational institutions in the province to prevent future incidents.

Recurrent Fire Incidents in Haripur

Haripur district has experienced multiple fire incidents in recent years. In December, a fire in Khanpur tehsil resulted in the death of a woman and eight animals. The summer of 2022 witnessed massive wildfires in Haripur and other KP districts, destroying vast areas of forestland. In October, a fire at the Pak-Austria Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology in Haripur’s Mang area destroyed records and furniture.

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This incident highlights the urgent need for improved safety measures in educational institutions. Chief Secretary KP, Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry, confirmed that the fire was caused by a short circuit and reassured that the school would be made functional again soon. He reiterated the importance of investigating the incident thoroughly and implementing preventive measures to safeguard against similar occurrences in the future.

Future Preventive Measures

Chief Minister Gandapur’s directive to the education department and district administration underscores the commitment to enhancing safety protocols. He stated that the damages would be compensated and necessary repairs would be expedited. The provincial government aims to ensure that all educational facilities are adequately equipped to handle such emergencies, thereby safeguarding the lives of students and staff.

The Haripur fire incident serves as a stark reminder of the potential dangers posed by inadequate infrastructure and the importance of vigilant maintenance and safety checks. As the investigation continues, the focus remains on restoring normalcy to the affected school and preventing future incidents through rigorous safety measures and protocols.