15 killed and scores injured as fire razes Nairobi market
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.