Nakumatt Downtown on fire

January 28, 2009
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, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 28 – At least seven members of staff at Nakumatt Downtown store in the centre of Nairobi have been taken to hospital with serious burns following a fierce fire that is raging there at this moment.

The inferno forced the evacuation of workers from the Alibhai Shariff Building, the Nation Centre and other surrounding buildings as it threatened to get out of control.

A number of people were seen being wheeled into waiting ambulances, and could have been injured trying to jump from the building to escape the fierce blaze that started at about 3pm.

The blaze has destroyed the megastore, despite efforts by fire fighters whose work was made futile by strong winds.

The situation was made worse by explosions that gushed flames into the sky, possibly from gas cylinders, or paints on sale in the store.

Police Commissioner Major General Mohammed Hussein Ali was at the scene coordinating the emergency response.

The police boss is personally calling the shots at the site, where police have cordoned off Kenyatta Avenue, Kimathi Street, Moi Avenue and other feeder roads that lead to the megastore.

The building is located at the junction of Kenyatta Avenue and Kimathi Street in Nairobi\’s Central Business District.

Crowds gathered near the building soon after the fire broke out but police pushed them further, also cordoning off all roads that lead to the fire site.

A police helicopter has also been scrambled and has been sighted circling the area.

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