Bukedea family of seven perishes in fire

A mother, her four children and a sister burnt beyond recognition in Tuesday fire believed to have been caused by illicit petrol stored in the house

BUKEDEA | A family of seven people died in a fire that burnt down a house in Bukedea District in eastern Uganda.

The Tuesday evening incident at Kamutur village, Kamutur parish in Kamutur subcounty left the family of John Okoboi burnt beyond recognition.

Witnesses say Okoboi fought to put out the fire that had engulfed the grass-thatched hut to save his wife and children but it was too much for him.

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Police have since released the names of victims as the wife Florence Ajimok, 26, her children Anna Adong, 6, Charles Okwalinga, and Loyce Apolot, 2, and two-month-old Alfred Okidi.

Also killed in the 8pm fire was a teenage sister of Ajimok, Dinna Kayaye, 15.

Patrick Omongole, elder brother of Okoboi, told this website that his brother has been vending fuel at Kamutur trading centre, adding that earlier on Tuesday, he had stocked seven jerricans of petrol.

He believes the fire could have started as a result of a charcoal stove his wife had taken inside the house after cooking supper.

The tearful Omongole said that Police from Mbale Fire Brigade got to the scene 45 minutes later, and could only recover the charred remains of the victims.

Micheal Odongo, the East Kyoga Police spokesperson, said the remains of the deceased were taken to Bukedea Health Centre IV for postmortem.

Incidents of house infernos caused by fuel stockade do happen in Teso as the region mainly relies on commercial motorcycles for rural transport. The thriving boda boda business has seen illegal roadside fuel business boom in the area.

In July, a six-year-old girl was burnt to ashes in Katakwi District after a grass-thatched hut that had been turned into a fuel store caught fire while she was sleeping in.

Odongo has asked the Ministry of Trade and Industry to put stringent measures to regulate the local sale of petroleum products.

“People dealing in flammable products such as fuel are supposed to be licensed but there is no stringent law to regulate them, so as police it is difficult for us to arrest these people,” he said.

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