NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 28 – Fifteen people have been confirmed dead following Thursday’s early morning fire in a section of the expansive Gikomba market at Kwa-Mbao area.
Five of the dead victims succumbed to injuries upon arrival at the Kenyatta National Hospital, among them four children, while another died at Mama Lucy hospital.
More than 70 casualties were undergoing treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital and other health facilities in the city according to authorities.
Police at the scene said nine bodies remained inside an adjacent apartment that was adversely affected by the dawn inferno as plans were made to retrieve them.
Agitated traders read sabotage, since this is not the first time such an incident is being reported at the market.
Nairobi Central Police Chief Robinson Thuku said fire fighters drawn from all agencies including the Kenya Defence Forces first wanted to ascertain the safety of the building before they could venture inside.
“We don’t know what chemicals are inside or even gas cylinders…we want to be sure first,” he told Capital FM News.
“We’re yet to establish the cause of this fire,” Nairobi Regional Commissioner Kang’ethe Thuku told journalists at the scene.
According to authorities, the fire started from a timber yard, where more than 1,000 stalls were burnt.
“Oh God! What have we done (to deserve this)?” a trader could be heard asking.
Authorities were having a hard time trying to control thousands of onlookers – among them affected traders – who were insisting on moving closer to the affected area.
This was despite the glaring danger as gas cylinders could be hard exploding.
Regional Commissioner Thuku said a tent has been erected where people could report missing relatives.
“We want to assure all the victims that the government will cater for all expenses,” he said.