3 killed, over 270 injured after massive gas explosion in Kenya capital Nairobi

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NAIROBI: At least three people were killed and over 270 were injured after a gas-loaded truck exploded, setting off a massive fireball that burned homes and warehouses in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, Al Jazeera reported.

Kenyan government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura said that the fire broke out on Thursday night in the Embakasi neighbourhood, 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”, Mwaura posted on X on Friday morning, 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 added. According to Mwaura, around 222 people were rushed to various hospitals in the capital.

The fire was eventually contained by Friday morning, but firefighters, rescue teams, and police were looking for people trapped in the area, according to Al Jazeera. Several houses and shops were burned out at the scene after daybreak. The shell of the vehicle believed to have started the explosion was lying on its side.

The roof of a four-storey residential building, about 200 metres (yards) from the scene of the explosion, was broken by a flying gas cylinder.

Alfred Juma, an aspiring politician, said he heard a loud noise from a gas cylinder in a warehouse next to his house. “I started waking up neighbours, asking them to leave,” Juma said.

He said he warned a black car not to drive through the area, but the driver insisted and his vehicle stalled because of the fumes. “He attempted to start the car three times and that’s when there was an explosion and the fire spread into the (warehouse) setting off other explosions.”
Juma said he grabbed two children and they hid in a sewage ditch until the explosions ended. His family had not been present, but he lost everything he owned in the fire.
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.
Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said Friday it had denied permission three times last year for the construction of a liquefied petroleum gas storage and filling plant at the site of the explosion, as reported by Al Jazeera.
“The main reason for the rejection was failure of the designs to meet the safety distances stipulated,” it said in a statement, noting “the high population density around the proposed site”. (ANI)

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