At around 11:30 pm on Thursday, February 1, there was a huge explosion at the Mradi area in Embakasi after a lorry that was loaded with gas cylinders exploded, igniting a huge ball of fire that spread widely.
One of the cylinders hit an Oriental garments and textile godown in the area burning it down completely. The inferno also damaged several vehicles, commercial properties, and residential homes.
The Kenya Times is keeping you updated on a minute-by-minute basis. Keep refreshing this page for updates.
Govt Official Update: Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura announced the government had provided essential food supplies to the affected victims including 680 bags of rice, 1,000 bags of beans and 50 cartons of corned beef.
Additionally, Mwaura stated that non-food items including 600 blankets, 3,000 plates and an equal amount of spoons, 50 cartons of soap, 20 bales of sanitary towels and 600 portable stoves had been supplied.
For accommodation, he noted that the county government of Nairobi was hosting victims in various halls and providing ready hot meals.
“Additionally, 120 blankets are being offered for added comfort, along with essential supplies like drinking water, 5 bales of sugar, and 5 bales of rice to cater to the basic dietary needs of the affected individuals,” Mwaura announced.
On the other hand, the Kenya Red Cross and UNFPA supplied 300 boxes of sanitary towels, 1500 undergarments, 100 mama kits, and 100 dignity kits, provided 40 beds, 663 blankets, 663 mosquito nets, 663 jerricans, 330 bed sheets, and 160 pillows.
“The Ministry of Health has distributed 10 trauma kits across various hospitals including Kenyatta National Hospital (3), Mbagathi Hospital (2), Mama Lucy Hospital (2), and Komarock Hospital (1),
“The World Health Organization has supplied 500 emergency kits tailored for the treatment of burns and fractures,” added Mwaura as he appealed to members of the public to make donations of items and blood to help the victims.
NEMA Fires Officials: The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) fired four of its officials for issuing a license to the Embakasi gas plant after it noticed some gaps in the licensing procedure and processes.
The four included the Director of Environmental Compliance, Acting Deputy Director of Compliance, Senior Environmental Officer-EIA Section and the Head of Environmental Impact Assessment – EIA Section.
Also, NEMA requested relevant government agencies to commence an immediate investigation into the matter as NEMA cooperates with the already established multi-agency teams handling the incident.
Ruto Order: President William Ruto issued orders to the Director of Criminal Investigations (DCI) to hunt down and apprehend the government officials who issued an operating license to the gas plant.
“I have instructed the Ministry that those officials who licensed the gas station in a residential area against the law to leave office by the end of today and be jailed,” said Ruto.
Gachagua and Ruto: After visiting the survivors on Friday evening, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua stated that President William Ruto had ordered DCI officers to apprehend the owner of the Embakasi gas plant.
“The DCI has clear instructions to do whatever it takes and to have the culprit apprehended and presented before the court of law with a litany of charges,” he stated.
2:50 pm: Nairobi Women Representative Esther Passaris arrived at Mama Lucy to offer relief products to affected people. She announced that every affected person would be given Ksh5,000.
1:46 pm: Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna visited victims of the inferno at Mama Lucy Hospital. He promised to sermon EPRA before the energy committee to explain what exactly happened once the senate resumes.
“We will be demanding a mapping of all such facilities and tightening rules for operations of gas filling stations to ensure this doesn’t happen again,” he stated.
12:38 pm: The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) revealed that it rejected applications for the construction of the LPG site on March 19, 2023, as it did not meet the set criteria for an LPG storage and filling plant.
“The main reason for the rejection was failure of the designs to meet the safety distances stipulated in the Kenya standard. EPRA noted the high population density around the proposed site and the applicant was requested to submit a Qualitative Risk Assessment clearly indicating the radiation blast profiles in the unfortunate case of an explosion,” EPRA stated.
12:33 pm: The Kenya Red Cross announced that it had successfully reunited 21 children with their parents following the tragedy.
“Continuing our search and rescue efforts post the Embakasi fire tragedy, we set up a tracing desk earlier and successfully reunited 21 children with their parents,” a statement from the Red Cross read in part.
11:39 am: Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura announced that the Kenya Red Cross will provide cash transfers for victims whose houses were destroyed in the fire after doing a mapping of the areas. The victims will receive two months’ rent as the county government of Nairobi provides food, blankets, water and other essentials for the victims.
Mwaura says counselling is being provided for victims who have undergone trauma as a result of the incident.
Additionally, Mwaura confirmed that three have died from the fire while being attended to at the Nairobi West Hospital, while 280 others are nursing wounds at various hospitals.
“43 are at the Kenyatta National Hospital, 17 are at the Kenyatta University Teaching and Referral Hospital, 157 are at the Mama Lucy Hospital, 18 are at the Modern Comarock Hospital, 21 are at Garrison Hospital, 8 are at Metropolitan and 8 at Nairobi West Hospital including the three fatalities, 2 are at Radiant Hospital and one at Pendo Hospital, 3 are at AAR and 4 at Nairobi Hospital,” Mwaura announced.
10:12 am: The assistant Chief of Soweto Highrise Issac Munyendo, his wife and his son are admitted at Salmus Prestige Hospital for treatment of burns from the gas explosion.
9:50 am: The county government of Nairobi waived all medical fees at the county facilities attending to the injured and bereaved.
9:00 am: One person linked to the explosion was arrested by detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
A command Centre was set up at the scene to allow affected families to report any missing relatives and enable the officers at the scene to provide any information to the victims.
8:01 am: Embakasi Member of Parliament Babu Owino arrived at the scene.