President Magufuli aired the condolences yesterday when addressing a rally at the Mazaina grounds in Chato District of Geita Region.
“I am saddened by the death of the pupils who died after fire burnt a dormitory at Byamungu,” he said, leading the gathering in observing a one minute of silence to honour the deceased.
Kagera Regional Commissioner Marco Gaguti said the fire broke out on Sunday at around 11pm, destroying a dormitory which accommodated about 74 pupils in Itera village of Kyerwa District. The school is for boys only.
RC Gaguti said the 10 victims were burnt beyond recognition and three of the seven injured pupils are in a critical condition.
He said the deceased, aged between six and 12 years, were critically injured and had inhaled smoke after the children were overpowered by the flames.
“We’ve appointed a probe team, also involving police and fire department officials to conduct thorough investigations into the accident,” he said.
The source of the fire was in the dormitory where 74 children were sleeping, he said.
The children found themselves helpless amid the heavy smoke that engulfed the building where they were trapped, he said, noting that all boarding services at the school have been suspended as a precautionary measure.
“We ask parents whose children have been residing there to take them home until further notice,” he said.
The regional authorities had also instructed the relevant departments to inspect other schools with boarding facilities to establish if they observe safety standards, and take stern legal action against schools offering boarding services to students without valid permits.
Munakara Mohammed, the Itera village chairman, told journalists that efforts to rescue the children failed as the fire spread rapidly.
The death toll was likely to rise as some of the injured children hospitalized at the Kyerwa District hospital were in a critical condition.
“My prayers go to the families of the children who died this morning. This is a tough time for the families of the victims and all the people in Kagera Region,” he said.
Back in June, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa had directed the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Ministry of State in the President’s Office (Regional Admiration and Local Governments) to take thorough precautions against fire accidents by intense inspection of residential facilities for pupils and students countrywide.
Such infrastructure must be installed with working protective devices against fire outbreaks for students safety, the premier had emphasized.
He was speaking in Dodoma at a function to receive a school constructed by the National Assembly through funds raised by women legislators organized by the Tanzania Women Parliamentarians Group (TWPG).