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2 Feb, 2024 13:07

Gas explosion sparks deadly fire in African state (VIDEOS)

The incident in Kenya’s capital has killed at least three people and left hundreds more injured
Gas explosion sparks deadly fire in African state (VIDEOS)

At least three people are dead and nearly 300 others have been left injured in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, after a vehicle loaded with gas exploded and sparked a massive blaze, the authorities of the East African nation said on Friday.

The incident occurred late Thursday night in the Mradi area of Embakasi, burning homes and warehouses, including Oriental Godown, a garments and textiles depot in the neighborhood that was hit by a “flying gas cylinder,” government spokesman Isaac Mwaura said in a statement.

According to Mwaura, the “huge ball of fire that spread widely… damaged several vehicles and commercial properties.”

“Sadly, residential houses in the neighborhood also caught fire, with a good number of residents still inside as it was late at night,” he added.

Embakasi police chief Wesley Kimeto told the media that a child was among those killed in the explosion and that the death toll could rise.

The government reported 280 injured people. However, the Kenya Red Cross announced earlier on X (formerly Twitter) that it had teamed up with the country’s ambulance service to evacuate 271 people to hospitals in the capital, while an additional 27 were treated at the scene.

Local media footage shows a huge flames raging near residential blocks, with residents screaming. The government had previously said the blast erupted at a gas refilling plant, severely damaging the facility. The cause of the explosion is unknown.

Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) announced on Friday that it had rejected three applications for construction permits for a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage and refilling plant at the explosion site last year because the designs did not meet safety requirements. EPRA, however, failed to clarify who owned the site.

Several media outlets quoted witnesses as saying they felt tremors immediately after the blast.

“The fire caught up with me from almost one kilometer away as I was escaping. The flames from the explosion knocked me down and burnt me on my neck,” survivor Edwin Machio told Reuters.

James Ngoge, who lives near the site, told AFP that he has a “business on the road that was completely destroyed” by the “huge explosion” that felt like “an earthquake.”

Earlier on Thursday, the Kenyan Red Cross reported a fire emergency at Riomego Boarding School in Nyamira County, where a 100-capacity dormitory had been consumed by flames. There were no casualties reported.