Gas explosion caused Nairobi blast

June 7, 2011 6:23 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 7 – Sunday\’s powerful explosion near a fuel station on Nairobi\’s Kirinyaga Road may have been caused by a high concentration of gasses at an underground store, according to preliminary investigation reports.

Detectives investigating the cause of the blast that claimed the lives of two people told Capital News that tests had revealed that there was presence of Hydrogen concentration the basement stores where the explosion started and caused a massive fire.

"We are waiting for the report from the government chemist and other government agencies but so far tests have revealed that there was a high gas concentration in that basement," a senior police officer involved in the investigation said.

The detectives believe that in the absence of any bomb remnants at the site, "it is most likely that the concentration of Hydrogen gas was high, thus causing the fire."

Police said that with Hydrogen concentrations as high as 75 percent by volume, such a powerful blast is possible.

"Experts have also examined the nature of injuries sustained by the victims in hospital and said that they are consistent with burns that can result from fire that is fuelled by such gases," the officer said.

Bomb experts from the CID headquarters have been conducting the investigations jointly with personnel from the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), the City Council of Nairobi\’s Fire department as well as those from the government chemist.

Police believe that the fire was ignited by activities of motor vehicle mechanics in the area, thus causing the blast that killed two people and wounded at least 42 others.

Most of those admitted to hospital had been discharged by Monday afternoon.

At least 16 people were still admitted to hospital, some with serious injuries-including one man whose leg was amputated on Sunday night.

One person died on the spot while the second succumbed to injuries at the MP Shah on Monday, on the day that CID director Ndegwa Muhoro ruled out possibilities that the explosion was caused by a bomb.

"After the investigations, we have ruled out a bomb explosion. We have not established the exact cause of the blast but the investigations are going on," Mr Muhoro said.

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