Sh42 mil­lion shops, cars razed in Thika

Fire­fight­ers were late as they were putting out an­other blaze in Ruiru. Traders say they will hire more guards to ward off ar­son­ists

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - JAMES WAINAINA @TheS­tarKenya

Prop­erty worth more than Sh42 mil­lion was re­duced to ashes in a fire at En­gen Juakali in Thika town on Sun­day night.

The fire started at around 11pm and the Ki­ambu county fire­fight­ers came much later as they were putting out an­other fire in Ruiru, En­gen Juakali As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man Joseph Irungu said.

He said three cars and two lor­ries un­der re­pair were burnt. Thirty kiosks and shops that sell ve­hi­cle spare parts and mat­tresses were also razed.

Ad­dress­ing the press on Monday, he said the cause of the fire is yet to be es­tab­lished.

“There is no jiko that was lit and no one was work­ing at night. We don’t know what caused the fire be­cause many peo­ple don’t work on Sun­day,” Irungu said.

“We want to in­crease our se­cu­rity guards so that they can be vig­i­lant and look out for ar­son­ists.”

Irungu said they will hold a haram­bee for the vic­tims.

He urged Gov­er­nor Wil­liam Kabogo and well-wish­ers to help those who lost their prop­erty and source of liveli­hood.

“This is the third fire in­ci­dent that we are re­port­ing this year and we want the county of­fi­cials to help us in proper plan­ning of the juakali site so we can have proper path­ways of ac­cess for fire en­gines and also to avoid the fire spread­ing eas­ily to other kiosks,” Irungu said.

An­thony Ki­mani said he lost prop­erty and mer­chan­dise worth more than Sh4 mil­lion.

He said his per­sonal ve­hi­cle was be­ing re­paired in one of the garages and his two kiosks that sell paint and spare parts were de­stroyed.

“I had only re­stocked last week. I have lost all that I had in­vested in my life., I am hurt emo­tion­ally, men­tally and fi­nan­cially. I don’t know where to start,” an emo­tional Ki­mani said.

James Mwangi said he was called at 11pm and told his kiosk was on fire and he rushed to the site but could not sal­vage any­thing.

“I am a me­chanic and in my store I had spare parts for cus­tomers, in­clud­ing en­gines and gear­boxes. I don’t even know what to tell my cus­tomer,” he said.

Res­i­dent Rose Wan­jiku was shocked and could hardly walk when she saw her life’s in­vest­ment de­stroyed.

“I have stayed here for over 20 years. This is where I get my daily bread and raise my chil­dren,” she said.

“I urge Kenyans of good will to come and as­sist us.”

/ JAMES WAINAINA

One of the lor­ries de­stroyed in the Sun­day night fire in Thika town

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