Six die in Kibra fire as authorities race to act belatedly

Six people died while dozens others were injured after the dawn fire that gutted at least 43 houses in Silanga, Kibra slums in Nairobi County. [Courtesy]
Six people have died and others injured following a fire that broke out in Silanga slums, Highrise constituency in Kibra, Nairobi early morning on Saturday.  

The 1am incident has left dozens homeless after razing down at least 43 houses in the area.

Confirming the incident, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko said the fire spread fast causing great damage due to lack of disaster access roads in the slum.

At least 43 houses in Silanga were burnt down. [Courtesy]
The Governor gave Kibra landlords a 21 day notice to bring down structures blocking access ways to make the place accessible during a fire outbreak.

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“Therefore, I am giving landlords twenty-one days. If you know you have blocked access paths for the residents, please start making way so that people may pass,” Sonko said.

Residents stare at the remains of their houses after the dawn fire that left six dead. [Courtesy]
While condoling with affected families, Sonko promised to help the victims reconstruct their house and work with the national government to find a lasting solution to the Kibra residents.

“We will bring supplies and I want to emphasise that this is going to reach all those affected by this fire. So give me a record of the real victims of the inferno. We will remain here until we are sure of the exactly number of the affected people,” the governor further said.

Sonko said Nairobi City County Government emergency crew normally experience difficulty while fighting fires in slum areas due to inaccessibility.

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He also criticized the random way houses in the slums have been built, leaving no room for vehicles to move around.

Nyayo Highrise MCA Kennedy Oyugi, who visited the area said those building storey houses in the slum should provide at least two exit routes in every building in case of emergencies.

“We thank our Governor for his good efforts in making the city clean. We have so far identified five bodies as we speak and we are still continuing with the search. Those doing construction of storey building should provide exit routes in case of emergency disasters,” he said.

Sarang'ombe MCA Lawrence Otieno, whose 15 houses were destroyed by fire three days ago, thanked Governor Sonko over his actions in safeguarding people’s lives by ensuring that such disasters were controlled where possible.

“It’s high time for leaders to come together for betterment of all Nairobi residents. Governor Sonko, we are not only thanking you for your tremendous support in our area, but the entire Nairobi. It’s high time we left politics aside and work as a team," Otieno said.

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According to the Kilimani Police OCPD Michael Muchiri, some of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

The cause of the fire is yet to be established. However, witnesses say it was caused by the explosion of a stove in one of the houses.

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Nairobi CountyNight FireKibra ResidentsKilimani Police