When a coffin Sales Executive Vanice Kemuto retired to the privacy of her bedroom on Tuesday night, she had plans for the next day but death followed her to the bed.
Near Ibaara Catholic Parish in Nyamira County, a driver lost control of an oil tanker ferrying diesel which veered off the road, ramming into the building which ironically houses a coffin shop where she was employed as a salesperson, destroying 15 of the boxes some of which had been paid for.
The tanker ferrying oil from Kericho County to Kisii County, crashed into Kemunto’s house, killing her instantly.
Sleeping on an adjacent bed, her mother Alexina Mwambi sustained serious injuries and was rushed to Nyamira County Referral Hospital where she died while undergoing treatment.
Her daughter Mellen Kasupuu, 7, driver of the tanker and his assistant were injured during the incident that took place near Ibaara Catholic Parish in Nyamira County are still undergoing treatment at the same hospital.
However, her son Patrick Mwambi, 12, who was woken up by the loud bang, left the building without a scratch.
It took neighbours and good Samaritans more than two hours to remove Kemonto’s body that was lying on the bed stuck under the trailer as they feared it would explode.
Nyamira North sub-county Commander Patrick Ngeiywa said the accident happened at around 4am.
“The ill-fated track belongs to Tosha Petroleum dealers and it was ferrying the fuel to Kisii Town from the Kericho,” Ngeiywa said.
Kemuto’s body was taken to Nyamira County Referral Hospital mortuary while her mother and daughter were admitted to the same institution.
Police officers were deployed at the scene to stop members of the public from siphoning the diesel.
Dr Timothy Ombati who is the Medical Superintendent at the hospital said the four (the driver and his assistant with Kasupuu and her granny) were recovering well from soft tissue injuries and fractures they suffered.
He however could not divulge more information about their injuries because what he said were instructions from the families of those affected.
“The injuries were not severe and they are doing well,” Ombati said.
By yesterday, the Mwambi and his sister Mellen Kasupuu, 7, were yet to come into terms with the death of their mother questioning how fate could look for their only living parent up to her bedroom.
“It will be the most tormenting thing in the children’s life. But we will bring them into terms,” Jason Orina, their uncle said.
Orina said they were doing well and that Kasupuu was recovering well from the injury she sustained in her hands.
Shocked neighbours who also survived the accident narrated the terrifying incident which left four traders counting losses and residents deeply in thought over their safety along the road which has recorded two accidents within one week.
“I was deep asleep but was awakened by a thunderous sound that sounded like a bomb blast. Everybody in the house woke up to more bangs of a heavy machine rolling. It rolled like four times before we heard the last one,” Nancy Barini, a neighbour whose house the tanker finally rested after ripping one side of her abode.
Barini said she was thrown into a trance for some time after the blast.
“I felt like I was in another world after being awakened by the sound of the tanker rolling from the road. For about three minutes, I could not know what to do. I could not even help my children who had been woken up by the blast. But afterwards, I found my way out of the house with the children and ran for safety after neighbours started screaming,” Barini said.
At the coffin shop where the tanker first rammed, the shop was completely flattened with coffins crashed.
The owner of the business Richard Mwangi who lives in Esani area said Kemunto was his employee and he would rely on her at all times he was away.
He said 15 coffins were crashed by the tanker and that the loss was immense to bear.
“I have lost property worth close to Sh1 million including the coffins and the structure which used to house the business,” Mwangi said.
He said this was not the first accident there.
“This has been a dangerous spot to operate in because we have had such accidents before but the only good thing is that there has not been a loss of life,” Mwangi said.
Fred Orori, whose house was partly demolished said he had incurred a huge loss as a result of the accident.
The incident is a pointer to the great danger most residents leaving along such roads are facing.
Just a week ago, an Ena Coach Company bus rammed into Nyamotaro Primary School but no one was injured except the passengers.
Yesterday, Nyamira County Commissioner Michael Lesimaam cautioned drivers against driving recklessly along the road and promised quick action from the Government in deterring future accidents.
“We are working closely with the Kenya National Highways Authority to ensure all necessary actions are taken against encroachment as well as preventing accidents in future through enhanced road controls,” Lesimam said.