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Emotions run high as three Rarieda gas explosion victims buried

By Isaiah Gwengi | May 21st 2018

Hundreds of mourners on Saturday attended the burial of three members of one family burnt after a gas cylinder exploded in their Rarieda village home in Siaya County.

The three- Caroline Gwara (40), her 18-year-old daughter and son, John Migael, (three) were part of Calvin Omondi's five-member family that had gathered home at night two weeks ago when a gas cylinder exploded, setting the house on fire. 

Migael died at the scene, while Caroline, her husband and their two daughters were pulled out alive and taken to hospital. Caroline and one of the girls later died, leaving Mr Omondi and the other daughter fighting for their lives in hospital.

On Saturday, Omondi and his daughter did not witness the burial of his wife and two children because they were still admitted to hospital

Omondi’s mother Jenipher Adongo, who says earlier that fateful day she spent a lot of the time with her grandchildren, sat in front of the three coffins, lost in grief. “The boy was nicknamed Gift because he was born 13 years after the third born, a girl. He was beguiling,” she said of her grandson Migael. She eulogised Caroline, her daughter-in-law, as a kind woman.

Wilson Opiyo, a relative, said the village had never seen "something like this". Police had earlier attributed the incident to leakage from the gas cylinder.

Mr Odero Ojwang’, a Chemistry teacher at Usenge High School, said gas cylinders stored under high temperatures can explode. “When there is some leakage, the gas combines with all air molecules and causes fire,” said Mr Ojwang’, adding that when a jiko is used near a gas cylinder, chances of the latter exploding are high.

He said: “Most of the cooking gas involved in explosion always lacks Ethyl Mercaptan, a chemical that gives a smell that enables detection of leakage by users.”

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