Two dead, seven injured in crash involving fire truck

Two people were killed and seven others injured after a fire truck responding to a distress call lost control and knocked them down in Thunguma Wednesday.

One person died on the spot while the other succumbed to injuries in hospital. The injured were admitted at the Nyeri County Referral Hospital.

Witnesses said the driver lost control of the vehicle when its brakes failed, adding that it veered off the all-weather road as the driver tried to regain control.

“I had just come from attending a funeral in the neighbourhood when an unusually loud noise from behind caught my attention. On turning, I saw the truck heading in my direction at a terrifying speed,” recalled 23-year-old Ann Kiumbi.

James Mwangi, another witness who escaped death by a whisker, said the truck could have knocked down more people had the driver not swerved to his right hand side where there were fewer bystanders.

Preparing tea

The accident notwithstanding, Mr Mwangi castigated the truck driver for taking too long to arrive at the scene of fire.

He said despite residents alerting the fire department on time, it took more than two hours for the fire fighters to get there, adding that this could have been the reason the driver was speeding.

The owner of the house which was on fire, Phyllis Wangari, said the fire erupted as she was preparing tea for her husband using a gas cooker.

She blamed the county government for what she termed utter ineptitude in responding to fire tragedies.

The 57-year-old mother of three wondered where her family would spend the night as all their household goods worth thousands of shillings had been reduced to ashes.

This is the second fire incident in less than two weeks.

On September 15, over 20 businesses located opposite Nyeri County Referral Hospital were reduced to ashes as fire fighters were unable to operate the fire engine.

Amos Kimani, one of the residents at the scene, complained that the fire fighters arrived on time but they were unable to operate the engine forcing residents to climb onto the engine and attempt to operate the fire hose.

“The fire engine came to the scene on time when only one house was on fire, but they didn’t know how to operate the hoses or the engine and it kept stalling, we had to climb up to help them put out the fire,” Mr Kimani said.

At least eight young men climbed atop the engine, and it took up to 30 minutes for the fire fighters to get the fire under control.

There are two new fire engines operating in Nyeri town that were donated by the Kenya Municipal Programme.