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Woman and her two children die in house fire in Embu

NAIROBI
By Joseph Muchiri | May 4th 2016

A woman and her two children died yesterday after fire burnt their house in Embu.

Grief engulfed Mugoya Estate after Caroline Wanjiru, 37, Grace Murugi, 9, and Paul Macharia, 2, were burnt beyond recognition.

Residents at the compound of Caroline Wanjiru's home at Mugoya estate in Embu, after the house was gutted by a mysterious fire. (PHOTO: JOSEPH MUCHIRI/ STANDARD)

Embu OCPD Francis Sang said the gate to the house and doors had been locked from inside, thus hampering rescue efforts. Residents had to first break into the compound to try to put out the fire.

Wanjiru’s husband, a senior bank officer in Siakago, was away during the incident.

Neighbours said the fire could have been started intentionally, owing to a family dispute. However, Sang said the cause of the fire was not known, and urged people to stop speculating since investigations were still ongoing. He said several gas cylinders were retrieved from the bedroom.

It is alleged that Wanjiru locked the gate to her home and then locked herself together with the children inside one bedroom, after which she doused the room with petrol.

Witness account

Morris Muchiri, a witness, said he had visited his farm near the house when he heard screams and saw dense smoke being emitted from the storied house. He then rushed to the scene to establish what was going on.

He said he tried to call Wanjiru’s husband but could not reach him. He then called the county fire brigade, which sent a fire engine.

Police and residents carry the bodies of the woman and her two children who perished in a mysterious fire that engulfed a room in the house that was locked from the inside in Mugoya area near Embu town on April 3, 2016. Police are investigating the incident. (PHOTO: JOSEPH MUCHIRI/ STANDARD)

“The efforts of residents, police and fire fire fighters paid off as they succeeded in putting out the fire and prevented it from spreading to the whole house and adjacent ones. Unfortunately, the three had been burnt beyond recognition,” said Muchiri.

Neighbours said the woman used to take her two children to school every morning before going to run her cooking gas outlet.

They added she was friendly although she largely minded her own business.

Daisy Njagi, a neighbour, said the woman was usually calm and went about her daily chores without showing signs of distress. The bodies were moved to Embu Level Five Hospital mortuary.

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