Police open files for Nakumatt fire tragedy

By Cyrus Ombati

Inquest files of all missing persons and the cause of the Nakumatt Downtown fire have been opened.

The findings of the investigation will form the basis of an argument the families of the missing have made that their kin were either burnt to death or could not be traced after the inferno.

Police want anyone with information how the fire started to record a statement at Central Police Station, Nairobi.

"No one has come forward to say he or she witnessed the fire break out, yet those are the people we will need to build our cases," said Central CID boss Festus Malinge.

So far, more than 20 employees of the supermarket, including top managers and some of the families of the victims, have been questioned.

Police are working with the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, City Council, Government Chemist and other stakeholders in the investigation.

It has also emerged that the generator claimed to have started the fire was intact.

Relatives of the missing people have to wait until February 18 to know the identities of the deceased.

Rescuers recovered 27 bodies, but only five were identified after a post-mortem examination was conducted at the City Mortuary.

Spread fast

All the bodies will undergo DNA testing and analysis for identification.

Police said relatives registered 48 names of missing people after the fire.

Nairobi PC James Waweru said the Government Chemist will assist conduct DNA analysis and testing and assured the families of results.

Some families had expressed reservations about a private firm contracted to carry out the exercise and demanded that the Government take charge. Relatives have submitted their DNA samples, which will be tested against the remains to establish the identities.

Meanwhile, police are investigating the cause of a fire that burnt four vehicles in a garage in Nairobi’s Donholm Estate on Sunday night.

Police said the fire broke out at about 10pm and spread fast.

The vehicles were at the garage for repairs. No one was injured in the fire, which took almost an hour to contain.

Witnesses said the fire started from nearby makeshift structures.

Detectives visited the scene and started investigation.

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Police Nakumatt