Monday , June 17 2024

Gas Explosion Rocks Nairobi, 300 Injured, Property Destroyed

A huge gas blast in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, has killed at least three people and injured nearly 300.

A lorry carrying gas cylinders exploded in Embakasi district at about 23:30 (20:30 GMT) on Thursday, “igniting a huge ball of fire”, an official said.

Housing, businesses and cars were damaged, with video showing a huge blaze raging close to blocks of flats.

The area has been cordoned off and an investigation is under way into the cause of the explosion.

A child was among those who died, according to Embakasi police chief Wesley Kimeto, who added that the death toll could rise.

Some 271 people were taken to hospital, according to the authorities, including at least 25 children.

Nairobi county Governor Sakaja Johnson said many of these people had been treated and sent home, but at least 39 have been sent to other facilities – some with critical injuries.

A further 27 people were treated on site for non-life-threatening injuries.

The government initially said the blast happened at a gas plant where workers were refilling gas cylinders, but the authorities later clarified that a truck had exploded in a parking yard.

According to government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura, a fireball from the blast “spread widely”. A flying gas cylinder hit a clothing and textiles warehouse, burning it down.

“The inferno further damaged several vehicles and commercial properties, including many small and medium sized businesses,” he said in a statement.

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

The fire has been contained and a search and rescue operation has been launched to find out if people are missing or have simply taken shelter elsewhere.

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