In a devastating incident that unfolded last night in Nairobi, a gas lorry explosion claimed the lives of at least three individuals and left more than 270 others injured.
The explosion ignited a massive fireball, engulfing a nearby warehouse and multiple apartment blocks in a densely populated residential area.
Shocking images captured the ferocity of the flames, fueled by the textiles warehouse, transforming the locality into a nightmarish inferno.
Late-Night Inferno: Residents Caught Unaware
The tragedy struck the Mradi area of the Nairobi neighborhood of Embakasi at approximately 11:30 pm local time.
Many residents were likely inside their homes or asleep when the fire rapidly approached, devastating their houses.
Government spokesman Isaac Mwaura expressed sorrow over the situation, emphasizing the extensive damage to vehicles, commercial properties, and numerous small and medium-sized businesses.
Unfortunately, residential houses were not spared, with several residents still inside during the late-night incident.
Escalating Toll and Scene of Destruction
With 271 people admitted to hospitals, the death toll is expected to rise further, according to Douglas Kanja, Deputy Inspector General of Police.
The aftermath, witnessed at daybreak, revealed the extent of the destruction. Burnt-out houses and shops dotted the landscape, with the vehicle responsible for the explosion left overturned and mangled.
The warehouse, reduced to ruins, housed only remnants of several trucks.
A four-story residential building, located 200 yards from the explosion, had its roof shattered by a flying gas cylinder, illustrating the intensity of the blast.
Displacement and Recovery: Residents Face Challenges
The explosion forced many residents to spend the night outdoors, with columns of black smoke billowing from the area.
Police secured the scene and cordoned off the affected area as displaced individuals attempted to salvage belongings and assess the damage to their homes.
Some reported feeling tremors resembling an earthquake, while others witnessed the explosion firsthand.
The scenes of destruction, coupled with the smell and smoke, compelled some residents to seek alternative accommodations.
Witness Accounts: Chaos and Attempts to Warn
Witnesses shared harrowing accounts of the chaotic moments. James Ngoge described hearing a colossal explosion, shaking the entire building and likening it to an earthquake.
Alfred Juma, an aspiring politician, recounted the loud noise from a gas cylinder in a nearby warehouse, prompting him to warn neighbors and attempt to avert further tragedy.
Despite these efforts, the unfolding disaster claimed lives, destroyed businesses, and left many grappling with the loss of their homes.
Questions on Urban Planning and Past Incidents
The proximity of the industrial site to residential areas raises concerns about the enforcement of city plans.
Criticisms have been directed at county government officials, accusing them of accepting bribes to overlook building codes and regulations.
The incident brings back memories of a 2018 fire at Nairobi’s Gikomba market, which resulted in 15 deaths and over 70 injuries.
The proximity of industrial establishments to residences underscores the need for rigorous safety measures and adherence to building regulations to prevent such catastrophic events in the future.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn