Tragedy struck the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, as a massive gas explosion claimed the lives of three individuals and left nearly 300 others injured.
There was a massive explosion in the Embakasi district last night, causing a government spokesperson to describe it as a “huge ball of fire.”
There was significant damage to housing, businesses, and cars, as captured in a video that showed a massive blaze dangerously close to residential buildings.
Previously, the government had stated that the explosion occurred at a gas plant. The cause is still under investigation.
The Embakasi police chief, Wesley Kimeto, sadly confirmed that one of the victims of the incident was a child. He also expressed concern that the number of casualties may increase.
The Kenya Red Cross reported that 271 individuals were transported to the hospital and 27 others received on-site treatment.
According to Isaac Mwaura Mwaura, the government spokesman, the fireball from the blast had spread extensively. Additionally, a flying gas cylinder had collided with a garments and textiles warehouse, resulting in its destruction by fire.
“The fire caused additional destruction to numerous vehicles and commercial properties, including a significant number of small and medium-sized businesses,” he stated.
“Regrettably, the local community experienced a devastating incident where several residential houses were engulfed in flames during the late hours of the night. Tragically, many residents were still present inside their homes at the time.”
Local media reported that witnesses experienced tremors following the explosion.
According to the Standard newspaper, a number of individuals, including 25 children, have suffered from inhalation injuries.
One of those injured, Boniface Sifuna, recounted the incident to Reuters news agency, stating, “I sustained burns from an exploding petrol canister while attempting to flee.”
“It detonated directly in my line of sight, causing me to be forcefully knocked to the ground as the surrounding area became consumed by a fierce blaze. I am fortunate that I had the strength to escape.
According to James Ngoge, a resident living near the site of the explosion, he was inside his house when he suddenly heard a massive blast.
“It seemed as though it was on the verge of collapsing.” Initially, the situation was quite bewildering, resembling the sudden tremors of an earthquake.
“I have a business that was completely devastated.”
According to a journalist from the Nation newspaper residing in the vicinity, all residents evacuated their homes following the explosion.
The Kenya Red Cross shared on social media that crews have been working tirelessly to combat the flames.
A government spokesperson, Mr. Mwaura, has announced that the blast scene has been secured and a command centre has been established to assist in coordinating rescue operations.
“It is important for Kenyans to avoid the cordoned area so that the rescue mission can proceed smoothly,” he stated, emphasising the need for minimal disruptions.