The fire is believed to have started between 12:00 am and 1:00 am starting in the right wing before it spread to other parts of the university.
The building is 79 years old and is the face of the University that has appeared on postage stamps, post cards, advertising boards, academic journals and national currency over the years. At the moment, the damage caused by the fire remains unknown but a quick assessment of the building shows that the entire roof of the right wing has collapsed.
However, University staff at the scene that Pearl Fm spoke to say the most affected offices that were housed in the burnt wing include the Finance Department, University secretary’s office, deputy vice chancellor administration and finance, central registry where, audit offices, pension offices, salary offices and human resource.
One of the fire men present at the university says that nothing is left within the burnt wing. The entire finance department has been gutted.
He adds that the entire wing is expected to collapse given the huge cracks that have presented in the walls due to the fire.
According to university staff, only a few offices remain untouched by the fire. They include: Printery, the vice chancellor’s office, senior common room and the council room.
The cause of the fire and whether anyone might have been inside the building is still unknown. However security at the Univeristy believe no one was inside the building.
Lucy Alezuyo, a guard at the University for the last 23 years, says that at the weekend the building is mostly deserted. Few people are in it working.
“According to protocol those on duty must move around to ensure that no one is inside before they lock the entire building. This is usually done at around 5:00 pm during these curfew times,” said Alezuyo.
Prof. Barnabas Nawange, the University vice chancellor on the University Twitter handled @MakerereU commented about the fire saying,
“It is a very dark morning for Makerere University. Our iconic main administration building caught fire and the destruction is unbelievable. But we are determined to restore the building to its historic state in the shortest time possible,” he said.
Earlier in 1938, the Duke of Gloucester, representing His Majesty King George VI had cut the first sod for the construction of the building on November 3.
The Main Building with its unique 20th century British architecture is easily Makerere’s most recognisable symbol and was constructed with funds from the Colonial Development bourse.
The building’s construction was greatly delayed by a scarcity of resources to purchase materials as Britain and her allies grappled with the expenses of World War II.
The right wing of the iconic Ivory Tower also known as the Makerere University Main Building has burnt to ashes from a fire that started early Sunday morning.