60 families out in the cold after night fire guts houses in Elburgon

The remains of houses at Eastleigh estate in Elburgon yesterday after a fire that gutted houses on Sunday night was put out. More than 60 families were affected. [Kennedy Gachuhi, Standard]
More than 60 families were rendered homeless after a fire gutted their houses in Elburgon’s Eastleigh estate.

The Sunday night incident occurred a day after residents and leaders held a fundraiser for 50 families that lost their property in a March 13 fire in the neighbouring Kasarani estate.

Lucy Wairimu, a resident, said the fire spread rapidly through four plots that housed more than 200 people.

“The fire broke out in one of the houses when the tenant was away. That house had no electricity and the cause of the fire remains unknown,” said Ms Wairimu.

Saved children

Like many other families, Wairimu only saved her children from the fierce fire. She had no chance to get her other belongings.

“My children were asleep and I had to carry them out of the house. I tried returning for a few things but the heat from the neighbouring houses was too intense, forcing me to retreat,” she said.

James Kariuki, a community policing leader, said they had challenges putting out the fire due to a water shortage.

The residents also kept off from the burning houses for fear of being electrocuted. By the time the power supply was disconnected, it was too late to salvage anything.

“The situation was made worse because there was water rationing during the day and many people had no water in their houses. After using water from the homes that were untouched by the fire, we were left watching as the other houses were reduced to ashes,” said Mr Kariuki.

There was little reprieve for locals despite the arrival of a fire engine from Timsales timber factory, as the blaze overwhelmed the fire fighters and consumed everything.

Mary Mungai, another resident, said they were forced to destroy some of the structures to stop the fire from spreading to neighbouring houses. She noted that congestion in the estate made it harder to contain fire.

“Some of the houses are inaccessible by vehicles, thus making it hard for fire engines to reach them in time. Almost all houses made of timber have connecting wooden fences that allow fire to spread out of control,” said Mrs Mungai.

Elburgon Assistant County Commissioner Naftali Korir said no injuries had been reported and that investigation had begun.

More than five fire incidents have been reported in Eastleigh and Kasarani estates since the year began, leaving the families at the mercy of donors and the county government.

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ElburgonFireNakuru CountyEastleigh estate