15 killed and scores in­jured as fire razes Nairobi mar­ket

CityPress - - News - – Al Jazeera and news agen­cies

A fire has swept through Kenya’s largest open-air mar­ket, killing at least 15 peo­ple, in­clud­ing five chil­dren, and in­jur­ing 70, of­fi­cials say.

“We have lost 15 peo­ple in this tragedy this morn­ing,” Nairobi re­gional co­or­di­na­tor Kangethe Thuku said on Thurs­day.

“We’re yet to es­tab­lish the cause of this fire.” It is be­lieved to have started in a tim­ber yard.

Search and res­cue ef­forts have con­tin­ued for at least nine bod­ies that re­main in the smoul­der­ing ru­ins of the fur­ni­ture sec­tion in Gikomba mar­ket, Nairobi.

Traders and nearby res­i­dents de­scribed flee­ing the area as build­ings col­lapsed.

The fire broke out at around 1am. Fire author­i­ties con­tained the blaze within a cou­ple of hours. Some vic­tims were fer­ried to Keny­atta Na­tional Hos­pi­tal in the cap­i­tal.

The hos­pi­tal’s act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive, Thomas Mu­tie, said that 28 men, 42 women and 17 chil­dren had been ad­mit­ted so far.

Most of the pa­tients were treated in the ad­mis­sion and dis­charge sec­tion for anx­i­ety, smoke in­hala­tion or burns, he said.

Five had se­vere smoke in­hala­tion or burns and were in the in­ten­sive care unit. All ad­mit­ted burns pa­tients had burns to at least 30% of their bod­ies.

“We want to as­sure the pub­lic that we’re taking the best care of the pa­tients,” he said.

Of­fi­cials had set up an in­for­ma­tion post for those seek­ing in­for­ma­tion about fam­ily mem­bers. Pa­tient vis­its had been lim­ited to pre­vent the spread of in­fec­tion.

Lo­cal Kenyan sta­tion NTV said hun­dreds of thousands of Kenyan shillings worth of prop­erty were de­stroyed. The ex­act fig­ure has yet to be de­ter­mined.

There have been at least six ma­jor fires at the mar­ket in the past eight years.

Traders said they had yet to re­ceive com­pen­sa­tion for pre­vi­ous dam­ages and now faced fur­ther losses.

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