‘Short cir­cuit caused fire’

Times of Oman - - OMAN -

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.”

Smoke de­tec­tors

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

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