By Cyrus Ombati
Sunday eveningâs fire incident at the heart of Nairobiâs Central Business District has exposed the cityâs vulnerability to preventable disasters.
The tragedy comes a couple of months after Sinai fire disaster that claimeda over 100 lives and just a week after wild fires ravaged valuable forest cover in Aberdares and Mt Kenya forests.
On Monday, lawyers, doctors, computer and mobile phone suppliers and other proprietors were counting loses following the fire at Kimathi House. Consumer Federation of Kenya chief executive Stephen Mutoro criticised City Council of Nairobi and Governmentâs Disaster Response Centre for failing to help investors.
"The Government has not demonstrated commitment to enacting a fire policy despite successive disasters countrywide," Mutoro said.
Mr Mutoro added Kenyans were lucky the fire happened on Sunday when there is less traffic and tenants were away.
Central OCPD Eric Mugambi said the cause was yet to be established. The building remains a no-go zone until it is declared safe for entry. GSU officers guarded the building as tenants and workers watched from far.
Several lawyers with firms located between fifth, and eighth floors of Kimathi House revealed on Monday that crucial clientsâ documents, which include title deeds, share certificates, log books had been burnt in the inferno that took hours to contain.
The cause of the fire was yet to be known even as officials from Kenya Power ruled out an electric fault citing untampered circuits. But what caused concern was the inability to pump hydrants beyond second floor as helpless tenants and members of the public watched in despair.
No tenant was present on Sunday when the incident happened. Later, theirs was to wait for hours to be let in to assess losses.
They were told to wait until experts declared the building safe. The inferno is said to have started shortly before 7pm on the fifth floor of the nine-storey building before spreading upwards. City Council firemen arrived at the building on time but it took them 15 minutes to start dousing the blaze.
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