Fires to warm homeless new danger to trucks on Kampala-Jinja highway

FILE PHOTO: A truck on fire. Authorities fear this could be a new danger, as several fires are lit by the highway in Mukono every night.

Mukono, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents and transporters for inflammable goods are getting increasingly concerned over the unchecked fire places set up along Kampala-Jinja Highway by unknown people during night hours especially in Mukono Municipality.

Fire is lit every night particularly at the mayor’s clock located along Mukono-Jinja-Bugerere junction and near Global junior school. Uganda Radio Network has established that it is set by mentally ill people generate heat to keep them warm in the night.

Transporters claim vehicles carrying inflammable goods including liquids, gases and fire-sensitive goods get stuck in traffic jam especially at the mayor’s clock.

Commonly transported goods include petrol, alcohol, gasoline and gas cylinders. The junction is among the busy places of Mukono where a vehicle can take from 5-30 stuck in traffic especially days of Monday to Thursday and then Saturday.

The Chairperson of Haulers Cargo Truck Driver’s Association, Hamis Hussein says several complaints have been raised by drivers about the fire places that might cause serious danger to them and to the business community.

Hussein says they have reported the matter to the municipality’s enforcement office for control as well alerting police over the same but nothing has changed.

Umar Ssebuyungo, a resident at Mukono Central Division says he has also severally notified security and the municipal enforcement including availing them with pictures and video clips of fire in dangerous places but they have not responded.

“Suppose fire extends and catches a petrol truck in such busy places, how many businesses can the area lose, and are the concerned authorities even thinking about the human lives that can be lost?”

James Nsimbi, the Mukono Municipal Enforcement Officer says his office is aware of mentally ill people who set dangerous fires in high hazard places within the municipality but they are challenged with funding to trace them also “remit” them to Butabika Hospital.

According to Nsimbi, they are only able trace for the mentally ill people every after four months and sometimes they still fail. The process of arresting mentally ill people requires  a court order and a secure place where to temporarily keep them before taking them to hospital.

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