‘Short circuit caused fire’
All 14 people have since been discharged from hospital, according to the Public Authority for Civil Defence & Ambulance.
“The Civil Defence team managed to control and extinguish the fire with 14 cases of injuries ranging from medium to simple,” the PACDA spokesman confirmed.
Aisha Al Sulaimi, the head of the school, said parents, administrators and teachers involved with the school were very concerned with the situation.
“According to the final examination of the cause of the fire, the reason given was a short circuit in the air conditioner,” she said.
The school includes 635 students, 64 teachers and 12 administrative staff. The technology department will begin checking the validity of the equipment and clean it today, but the painting and other measures have not been assigned a start date.
“Last year, a fire broke out in the learning resource centre and the administrative room, and this year, smoke rose from one of the school’s electricity sources, but we managed to control it.”
Very few students
Because the fire took place so early in the morning, there was no loss of life to report, but Al Sulaimi revealed that the situation could have been much worse.
“The fire took place at 6:15am, so there were very few students in the school, and they hadn’t yet entered their classes,” she recalled.
“The fire happened in the learn- ing resources room, and the students were in the playground just outside it, and they were affected by the thick smoke rising from the fire. Some students have problems with allergies and asthma and were therefore affected by the smoke, and they needed treatment after trying to put out the fire.
“The situation at the school has become difficult and the possibility of students coming to school to study is not feasible, because we have no electricity.”
The school is located in the town of Birkat Al Mouz, in the Dakhiliyah Governorate, about 133 km from the capital, Muscat.
“The fire was caused by an electrical short circuit in the learning resources room,” revealed Dr. Yaqoub Al Nadabi, deputy director of the Directorate General of Education in Al Dakhiliya Governorate’s department for administrative and financial affairs.
Air conditioner safeguards
“The fire occurred only in one part of the classroom, and the cases we found in the people relate to suffocation, but the students were discharged from the hospital after they were reassured of their health condition.”
PACDA and a health and safety expert in Oman have warned residents over the danger of split air conditioning units and safeguarding against electrical fires. A PACDA spokesman said: “As a result of the accident, 14 people were injured with minor to moderate injuries as a result of smoke inhala- tion. Emergency medical care was provided to them by ambulance personnel and then transferred to Baraka Banana Health Centre and Nizwa Hospital.”
The spokesman stressed that electrical equipment must be switched off whenever premises are vacant, adding: “The Authority calls upon the importance of complying with the safety requirements and ensuring the closure of electrical appliances before departure.”
Irshad Abdulmajeed, from the Fire and Gas Detection department at Safety Oman, said: “Royal Oman Police requirements state that smoke detectors have to be fitted in all rooms. There needs to be a centralised panel to operate these, and all the bells and alarms need to be heard clearly across all rooms, and this includes the assembly points outside as well.
“Whenever any smoke is released, these detectors will sound, and the panel will show you where this fire is taking place. This panel must be located near an entrance, so that it can be easily accessed and monitored. We have done installations in lots of educational institutions, and a detection system is a must,” he added.
“With ACs the most common problem is a faulty cable, because it is unable to take the load of the air-conditioner, and that is what causes a short circuit.” Full story @ timesofoman.com/oman