At least two people died on Thursday night following a huge fire that broke out in Nairobi’s Embakasi area, the government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura has confirmed.
In a statement, Dr Mwaura said there was a huge explosion at Mradi area at around 11:30 pm, after a lorry loaded with gas exploded, igniting a huge ball of fire that spread widely.
Following the ignition, the report said that a flying gas cylinder hit Oriental Godown, burning down the said godown which deals with garments and textiles.
“Consequently, the inferno further damaged several vehicles and commercial properties, including many small and medium sized businesses. Sadly, residential houses in the neighborhood also caught fire, with a good number of residents still inside as it was late at night,” said Dr Mwaura.
The government spokesperson added, “As a result, two fellow Kenyans have regrettably lost their lives while being attended to at the Nairobi West Hospital. The government sends its most sincere to the families of the departed souls.”
According to the state report, at least 222 people sustained varying degrees of injuries and were rushed to different hospitals within the county.
Here is the breakdown: “21 at the Kenyatta National Hospital, 160 at Mama Lucy General Hospital, 19 at Mbagathi Hospital, 14 at Modern Komarock Hospital, and 8 at Nairobi West Hospital.”
Authorities have also set up a command to help coordinate rescue operations and other intervention efforts.
“Kenyans are hereby advised to keep off the cordoned area in order to allow the rescue mission to be carried out minimal disruptions,” Mwaura said.
Embakasi fire raises questions
Some of the institutions and agencies that took part in rescue and emergency response included the National Police, Nairobi County Government, the Kenya Redcross, and St. john’s Ambulance.
Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna said the incident was devastating.
“It’s terrible what has happened to our people in Embakasi. As we try to understand the facts around this incident, we commiserate with all those who were injured and wish them quick recovery,” said the Senator in a statement.
On his part, Kileleshwa MCA Robert Alai called for the apprehension of those who may have slept on the job, leading to the tragedy.
“NEMA directors, including the Director General, should be arrested and charged with criminal neglect over the Embakasi Fire.
Nairobi City County planning officers led by the CECM and Chief Officer should be arrested and charged too,” stated Alai.
Embakasi fire broke out days after another inferno reduced businesses premises to ashes at Jua Kali area near City Stadium in Nairobi County.
Also Read: Fire Razes Down Businesses at City Stadium
Some of the victims of the incident blamed Kenya Power, saying it was caused by an eclectic fault.