A fire at Nairobi’s Gikomba market yesterday killed 15 people, a government official said, less than a year after a blaze destroyed much of the Kenyan capital’s largest open-air market.
“We have lost 15 people from this tragedy this morning,” Nairobi regional coordinator Kangethe Thuku said.
“We’re yet to establish the cause of this fire,” he said, which is believed to have started in a timber yard.
The predawn blaze left more than 70 people injured, and destroyed many of the market’s wood and tarp stalls that sell second-hand clothes, shoes and vegetables on the eastern side of the capital city.
A police officer at the scene said emergency services were continuing to search the area.
“We are still trying to get to some corner [of the market] which has heavy smoke, because part of the area has not been accessed due to live electric wires,” the police officer said.
Witnesses heard explosions as gas canisters were swept up in the inferno.
Nine of the dead were in an apartment block next to the market, while six others — including four children — died of their injuries in hospital.
A large fire destroyed much of the market in October last year.
In May 2014, 10 people died in a bombing at the market blamed on militant group al-Shabaab.
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