, NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 18 – Property worth millions of shillings was destroyed when fire broke out at the Ukwala Supermarket branch on Ronald Ngala Street in Nairobi on Monday morning but no casualties were reported.
Witnesses said the fire started from the second floor of the building at about 1am and quickly spread to third floor where electronic goods were stored.
“The entire second and third floors have completely burnt down. There is nothing that has been salvaged,” a guard at the building said.
It took fire fighters from the City Council of Nairobi and security firm G4S more than eight hours to put out the fire.
A director at the Supermarket chain Rohit Shah told Capital News he could not estimate the value of the property that was destroyed.
“We have lost much much more. I cannot tell the value of what has been burnt but we will get to know once a valuation has been done,” Mr Shah said.
He was among senior managers of the supermarket chain who spent the better part of Sunday night watching as fire fighters battled out the inferno before it could spread to adjacent buildings.
A Tusky’s supermarket store which is at the neighbouring building was not affected by the massive fire.
A firefighter from the City Council of Nairobi who was involved in the operation told Capital News the third floor of the building had caved in, hampering their operations for several hours.
“We have had many challenges but at last we have been able to put the fire out,” the official said.
A police officer at the scene said they were investigating if the fire was caused by an electric fault.
Nairobi Provincial Police chief Antony Kibuchi told Capital News adequate security personnel were deployed to the scene immediately the fire started to keep away looters.
“We secured the area very well because there are crooks who take advantage of such situations to cause chaos and loot property. Our officers were on high alert and no such scenes were witnessed there,” Mr Kibuchi said.
The fire caused a major traffic snarl up on adjacent roads after police closed Ronald Ngala Street to vehicles to allow fire fighters and other emergency services at the affected area.
Tom Mboya Street, River Road, Luthuli Avenue and Moi Avenue were the most affected roads before traffic cleared at about 1pm.
Monday’s fire was the second to occur at a supermarket after the January 28, 2009 fire that engulfed Nakumatt Downtown branch the junction of Kimathi Street and Kenyatta Avenue.
Some 28 people were killed in the inferno that also destroyed property worth millions of shillings.