Truck laden with gas exploded in Nairobi with fire engulfing warehouses and damaging homes and vehicles.
A truck loaded with gas exploded and set off a massive fireball that burned homes and warehouses in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, killing at least three people and injuring more than 200.
The fire broke out on Thursday night in the Embakasi neighbourhood, government spokesperson Isaac Maigua Mwaura said on X, with many residents inside by the time the blaze reached their homes.
“One Lorry [truck] of an unknown registration number that was loaded with gas exploded, igniting a huge ball of fire that spread widely,” he posted on Friday, adding that vehicles, businesses and residential homes were engulfed by the flames.
“A good number of residents [were] still inside as it was late at night,” he said.
Some 222 people were rushed to various hospitals in the capital, according to Mwaura.
The fire was eventually contained by Friday morning, but firefighters, rescue teams and police were looking for people trapped in the area.
The initial cause of the explosion was unknown.
At the scene after daybreak, several houses and shops were charred. The roof of a four-storey residential building about 200m from the site of the explosion was broken by a flying gas cylinder, and electric wires lay on the ground.
Earlier, the Kenyan Red Cross said it had taken 271 people to health facilities around the capital and 27 were treated on site.
Mwaura said the area had “been secured, and a command centre is now in place to help coordinate rescue operations and other intervention efforts”.
“Kenyans are hereby advised to keep off the cordoned area in order to allow the rescue mission to be carried out with minimal disruptions,” he added.
SECOND UPDATE ON THE EMBAKASI GAS EXPLOSION FIRE INCIDENT
Further to our earlier communication, the government of Kenya wishes to confirm that yesterday Thursday 1st February 2024, at around 11:30 pm, there was a huge explosion at Mradi area, in Embakasi, Nairobi County.
— Spokesperson GoK (@SpokespersonGoK) February 2, 2024
Caroline Karanja said fellow residents in the neighbourhood had to run away after the explosion and as police cordoned off the entire area.
“Police were turning away everyone and so it was difficult to access my house and I had to seek a place to sleep until this morning,” Karanja told The Associated Press news agency. She said the smell and smoke were still choking and that she would have to stay away for a while because she had young children.
“The whole building was shaken by a huge tremor, it felt like it was going to collapse. At first, we didn’t even know what was happening, it was like an earthquake,” James Ngoge, who lives across the street from where the fire broke out, told the AFP news agency.
Ngoge said that his business, which was on the same street as the fire, was now “completely destroyed”.