Property of unknown value has been razed down at Gikomba market. 15 people are confirmed dead while 70 have been seriously injured. The fire is believed to have started around 2am from timber shops near the river, with strong wind believed to have aided the fire spread to nearby residential houses.
Initial reports from witnesses confirmed at least six unidentified bodies had been burnt beyond recognition. Others got choked after inhaling poisonous fumes as they fought to save and rescue their possessions.
Nairobi regional commissioner Kangethe Thuku said nine bodies have not yet been recovered from the scene. A number were rescued and treated by rescue services on the scene.
“At least 40 casualties evacuated by St John ambulance following huge fire that gutted part of residential and market sections of Gikomba,” the emergency service provider said in a tweet.
According to St John’s ambulance, at least 15 residential apartments and several shanties were affected. Mr Thuku said that a multi agency has been set up to aid in search and recovery efforts. To prevent further damage the team has disconnected electricity around the location.
The regional commissioner further noted that they had removed gas cylinders and other similar explosive items that may be hazardous. The county administrator also urged the victims of the fire to converge at a tent erected at the site to report any missing persons or property.
This is the fourth incident at the market in a period of less than seven months. Last year President Kenyatta ordered investigation after two fire incidents rocked the market in a period of nine months.