Panic as another multi-storey building in Kiambu develops cracks

The affected building is seen in Ruiru, Kiambu County. [Gitau Wanyoike, Standard]

Panic has gripped residents of Kamakis along the Eastern Bypass in Kiambu County after a six-story building housing over 100 people developed cracks.

A tenant, James Mwangi, whose house is located on the sixth floor told The Standard he moved out after he noticed the huge cracks and realised that doors could not also close as a result of the defect.

Several other tenants also started fleeing after noticing cracks in the walls, beams, and slabs.

“I moved into the building in December last year, but a month ago I noticed that the walls had started developing cracks and some of the doors would not close, so I decided to move out,” said Mwangi.

Residents of the building begin evacuating after cracks develop on the walls. [Gitau Wanyoike, Standard]

County government engineers and officers from Ruiru Police Station rushed to the site to assess the situation. However, after inspecting the building, the engineers declared it was safe and there was no need for evacuations.

“The cracks are minor and do not affect structural elements such as columns and beams. However, we will subject the building to further tests,” said Ruiru sub-county engineer John Kamau.

Kamau said the building has the capacity to house 300 people.

Ruiru Police boss Alex Shikondi, while on a visit to the site, told residents not to panic as county officials had assured them of the building's safety.

“We value life more than property. If the engineer had indicated that the building is unsafe for occupation, we would have requested all the tenants to vacate. However, since the engineer has said otherwise, we will allow them in but continue monitoring,” said Shikondi.

On Sunday, May 7, more than 70 people escaped death narrowly at Kidfamaco village in Kiambu County after a four-story building that was under construction collapsed.

Two casual labourers who were living in the building escaped unhurt.

In April this year, tenants of another apartment in Thindigua along Kiambu Road were forced to vacate after a building they were living in also developed cracks.