NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 6 – There was panic at Nairobi’s Hotel Intercontinental on Friday when a transformer tripped causing a fire.
Staff and guests at the hotel were quickly evacuated before fire fighters from the City council arrived.
“I just heard a loud sound before they (hotel management) started announcing that we get out,” James Muiruri who was at the hotel to meet a friend said.
Another hotel guest who was at the pool side said she saw people running shouting ‘fire, fire’.
“I had been at the hotel for about half an hour. As I paid my bill, I heard a loud bang and as I tried to locate where the sound had come from, we heard someone going round and saying we get out,” 28-year-old Mercy Mweba said.
When Capital News arrived at the hotel, staff and guests were gathered outside the generator room near Nyayo House watching as the fire brigade put out the fire.
The hotel’s Public Relations Manager Kavi Mwendwa told reporters that the problem emanated from a transformer which tripped.
“The lights went off which is normal. The transformer tripped when the power came back (and) that is the little sound that you’ve heard but we are all safe,” Ms Mwendwa said.
“So those in the restaurant were evacuated, those in the rooms were also evacuated but everything is now normal. Everybody is safe and there were no injuries. Everyone is safe,” she added.
She said the hotel had resumed normal business. “As you can see everything is now normal and we are operating as normal,” she said.
Nairobi Provincial Police chief Njue Njagi described the incident as ‘minor’. “It was just a minor incident, the response was so good and there is no problem at all,” he said.
The incident caused a major scare amongst city residents, coming just days after the Nakumatt and Molo fire tragedies that killed over 150 people.
The death toll from the Molo oil tanker explosion hit 134 on Friday after another victim died at the Rift Provincial General Hospital.
100 of them were burnt beyond recognition after a tanker that had overturned caught fire as hundreds of villagers siphoned fuel.
“They were burnt beyond recognition and their relatives and residents here have agreed to have them buried in a mass grave on Monday,” Rift Valley Provincial Commissioner Hassan Noor Hassan said.
The 34 others died on the way to hospital or while undergoing treatment and have since been identified by their kin.
The Molo tragedy came just days after the Nakumatt Downtown supermarket fire that killed nearly 40 people.
So far, only 27 bodies have been recovered out of the 47 reported missing.
Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Mr James Waweru said rescue workers and police were due to call off the rescue operations after concluding that no more bodies were at the site.
“The operation is on its final stages, we may call it off by Friday,” he told reporters on Wednesday.