At least 38 workers of Darling factory at Kazinga in Bweyogerere in Wakiso District are nursing injuries they sustained in a fire stampede Tuesday afternoon. Darling produces hair products such as weaves, ponies, bulk, wigs and braids and employs more than 300 workers in their day and night shifts.
It is alleged that one of the power panels sparked leading to a fire in the factory, which triggered a stampede. The Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, says some of the employees stepped on their colleagues in an attempt to flee the fire leaving 38 with injuries.
The injured workers were rushed to nearby health facilities by the factory management backed by the Kazinga Police Commanded by Assistant Superintendent of Police – ASP Katongole and Kennedy Ssebagala, the Officer in Charge Bweyogerere Police Station.
13 of the injured workers were rushed to the AAR Clinic while 25 were admitted at Gwattiro Hospital. The Human Resource Manager of Darling, Sam Wambi told URN that 14 workers had already been discharged after receiving first aid.
“Some of them suffocated but we have referred them for thorough medication before we resume work,” Wambi said. Earlier reports indicated that two workers had died in the stampede, a claim that has been dismissed by Onyango and area Commanders. According to Police, all workers were safely evacuated without any fatalities.
The factory, which maintained restricted access for about an hour after the fire scare, is said to have registered similar incidents in the recent past. Source said a similar incident occurred late last year and more than 10 workers were injured.
Onyango applauded the employees who worked tooth and nail to contain the fire before the fire brigade team arrived at the factory. The workers used fire extinguishers and by the time fire brigade arrived, the situation had already returned to normal.