, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 6 – The government says preliminary reports point to foul play in the fire that razed business structures at Gikomba Market overnight Thursday, destroying property worth millions of shillings.
In an statement, Devolution Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri said a probe had been initiated and warned that action would be taken against any culpable individual.
“From the initial reports that we are getting, we are saddened that they appear to point at foul play. The government has set in motion investigations into the cause of the fire to fully establish what caused it.”
He further assured that the government will take action to ensure the incident does not recur by putting up permanent structures and ensuring there are access roads within the market.
“I would like to assure the affected traders that we will not abandon them. The National Government in collaboration with the County Government will explore ways of ensuring that businesses in this very important market for such a big section of the city’s population are protected against such disasters,” he stated.
The military joined in fighting the fire that was still raging by Friday afternoon.
“I would like to say sorry to all the traders who have been affected by this incident. We are also thanking God that there are no casualties. Our fire fighters are working hard to put out the fire. KDF and G4S are here and we are trying to contain the fire. At the moment we have not know what is the cause of the fire but we are suspecting foul play,” Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said at the scene.
He also assured them that he will help them resume business once the situation was brought under control.
“It is a lesson learnt. We has seen the challenges, we have seen there is a problem accessing the exact spot where the fire started so I would like to urge the traders to calm down as we try to contain the situation,” he said.
The National Disaster Management Unit Deputy Director Mwachi Pius said the efforts of the county fire department, National Youth Service and Security firm G4S were hampered by accessibility and the closely packed nature of the combustible market structures.
Mwachi appealed for assistance from persons and companies with fire engines or water bowsers.
He has also appealed to the public to keep off and for those with premises nearby to clear them out.
Fires at the Gikomba Market are a perennial problem blamed on faulty wiring, the informal nature of the stall structures, lamps or burners left on and even sabotage.