At least three dead, over 270 injured in huge fire in Kenyan capitalFri, 02 Feb 2024 06:49:47 GMT

At least three people were killed and more than 270 injured in a massive fire when a truck laden with gas exploded in the Kenyan capital, police said Friday. Firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control by around 9:00 am (0600 GMT), more than nine hours after it erupted, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.The explosion ignited a “huge ball of fire that spread widely”, government spokesman Isaac Maigua Mwaura posted on X.”Consequently, the inferno further damaged several vehicles and commercial properties, including many small and medium sized businesses,” he said.”Sadly, residential houses in the neighbourhood also caught fire, with a good number of residents still inside as it was late at night,” he added.At least three people died and 271 were admitted to various hospitals in Nairobi, Douglas Kanja, Deputy Inspector General of Police, told reporters. – ‘Like an earthquake’ -The fire broke out just before midnight on Thursday night in the Embakasi neighbourhood southeast of the capital.Images broadcast by local media showed a huge fireball close to several homes.According to an AFP journalist, several houses and vehicles were burned, with images of the scene showing the wrecks of charred vehicles.”We were in the house and heard a huge explosion,” James Ngoge, who lives across the street from where the fire broke out, told AFP.”The whole building was shaken by a huge tremor, it felt like it was going to collapse. At first, we didn’t even know what was happening, it was like an earthquake. “I have a business on the road that was completely destroyed.” The explosion forced many of the area’s residents to spend the night outside, with large columns of black smoke seen billowing from the area as police secured the scene and cordoned off the affected area.Some people could be seen collecting their belongings and surveying the damage to their homes.”The scene has now been secured and a command centre is now in place to help coordinate rescue operations and other intervention efforts,” Mwaura said.In 2018, a fire at Nairobi’s Gikomba market killed 15 people and injured at least 70. Nine of the dead were in an apartment block next to the market while six others — including four children — died of their injuries in hospital.The pre-dawn blaze destroyed many of the market’s wood and tarp stalls where second-hand clothes, shoes and vegetables are sold.