Lang’ata residents were left homeless on Saturday, February 10 night after a fire broke out in the informal settlements of Kijiji destroying property of unknown value.
The fire, believed to have originated from one of the structures in the Kijiji area opposite Southlands, quickly spread throughout the densely populated slum, fueled by heavy winds and the presence of cooking gas that periodically exploded, hindering locals’ efforts to contain the blaze.
The fiery blaze which started a few minutes prior to 8 pm was finally brought under control by 10:20 pm and no casualties was recorded, as reported by the Kenya Red Cross.
“The situation has been successfully contained thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Nairobi City County fire team, the Kenya Red Cross, and Community Based Disaster Response teams,” stated the Kenya Red Cross.
However, according to some witnesses, the fire trucks arrived without water, hindering the firefighting process.
According to the residents, this was not the first incident where the disaster response team had arrived at a fire scene without water in their engine tanks.
It is further alleged that four fire engines which arrived at the scene ran out of water after a few minutes leaving the inferno to spread thereby consuming everything on its path including several houses, entertainment joints and business structures.
The fire originated within the heart of the residential zone, forcing residents to leave their homes to escape the raging flames.
As a precautionary measure, the Red Cross Society advised the residents to refrain from putting children to sleep until the fire is extinguished to minimize smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide exposure.
Lang’ata OCPD Elijah Mwangi confirmed that authorities were unable to ascertain the cause of the fire, emphasizing the need for thorough investigation by trained personnel.
“We don’t know what caused it. Investigators will have to tell us,” Mwangi remarked, underscoring the urgency of determining the origin of the blaze to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Previous Fire Incidences
Nairobi County has recently witnessed increased cases of fire engulfing in different areas.
A massive fire broke out on 30th January night, destroying a large section of Jua Kali market situated along Landhies Road in Nairobi.
The inferno, which began around 6 pm, raged on for hours, despite the efforts of firefighters who struggled to control it until past 10 pm.
Another case was on 8 February morning, when a fire broke out at the Bazaar Plaza located in the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD)
Similarly, this marks nearly a week since a huge gas explosion was experienced in the Embakasi area, Nairobi leaving 63 people homeless.
Government Spokesman Isaac Mwaura said a lorry carrying gas cylinders exploded at Mradi Area around 11:30 pm on February 1.
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 devastating impact of the blaze serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerability faced by residents of informal settlements and the pressing need for improved infrastructure and emergency response capabilities to mitigate such disasters.