Arson suspected in Gikomba fire, says commissioner

Alvin Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe

Hundreds of traders at the Gikomba market yesterday lost property worth millions of shillings when a fire razed their stalls less than six months after a similar incident.

Deputy County Commissioner Kamukunji Moses Lilan said  a suspected arson attack could have caused the fire and promised those behind it would be arrested and prosecuted in court.

“We are going for those behind the heinous act and we will ensure they are brought to book”, he said. No casualties were reported. Traders said the fire is believed to have started as early as 3 am.

However, speedy response by a joint team from Kenya Police, General Service Unit, Kenya Red Cross and the Fire Brigade team from the County Government of Nairobi helped to contain the fire from spreading to the other premises in the market.

Traders claimed sabotage, saying this is the second time in a year fire has broken out at the market.

“I have lost property worth close to Sh1.7 million and every time such fires occur, we are promised of investigations. To date we have never been told what caused the previous inferno,” said Simon Mbugua, one of the traders.

Lives lost

The fire comes after another inferno on June 15 which saw 16 people lose lives and others injured. Last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the police to probe the cause of the fires that have been a common occurrence in the market.

Just recently, Housing PS Charles Hinga launched the reconstruction of Gikomba to make it a modern market. The reconstruction is expected to cost the government Sh485 million for the first phase.

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