Property worth millions destroyed in latest Gikomba fire, police say

Police say only a section of the market caught fire. [File, Standard]

On the second night of a heavy downpour in Nairobi, property worth millions was destroyed after fire razed down a section of Gikomba market.

According to Kamukunji Deputy Sub-County Police Commander, Doris Mugambi, the cause of the fire that started in the wee hours of Sunday has not been established.

“The fire was reported at around 5:45 am. We have been able to put it out but we cannot establish the worth of property destroyed,” she told The Standard.

Mugambi said the fire had only ravaged the market’s Simba yard area adding, there were no casualties reported. She says investigations into the incident are underway.

Mugambi says the fire was brought to the authorities’ attention by officers who were on duty at the time.

Photos and videos making rounds on social media showed a huge blaze at the fire-prone market with traders struggling on mud and paddles trying to salvage their stock and property.

The latest fire is the second in a month and almost the fifth since the year began.

Three weeks ago, the Mitumba Consortium Association of Kenya (MCAK) challenged the national Government and Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to act on rampant and frequent fire infernos in the market after another fire broke out.

In August this year, the government promised to install cameras; construct a perimeter wall and access roads, erect floodlights and drill boreholes as security and safety measures to protect the market from recurrent fire menace.

The traders blamed the Nairobi County firefighters’ late response for more damages, losses, injuries and loss of lives among the hardworking second-hand clothes and footwear traders.

This comes amid a green light by the court allowing NMS to evict over 170 traders operating in a section of the market to pave way for the expansion of Pumwani, Majengo Health Centre.