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Hundreds left homeless after Kangemi fire

Bernard Gitau @benagitau

Over 900 families yesterday were left homeless after their semi-permanent houses were razed down by fire at Dam Village in Kangemi, Nairobi county. The fire consumed most of the household goods, shops, and a private school and left scores injured.

The fire, which started at around 10am yesterday caused a traffic snarl-up as curious onlookers gathered at the area which also borders the Kangemi flyover on Waiyaki Way.

 According to residents, the fire started from one of the houses after the owner left a kerosene stove on before it exploded.

 “The fire spread quickly due to the intense wind. We were unable to salvage belongings due to poor accessibility,” said John Omondi,  a resident.

“It is unfortunate that I have lost everything.  We really need assistance,” said octogenarian Mary Wanja, who said she has lived in the area for over 10 years.

 Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi visited the victims and called on the National government to hasten the implementation of affordable housing, especially at informal settlements.

 “Such incidences confirm the need for the government to put up affordable and decent houses in slum areas for easy access when disaster strikes,” he said.

He said although more than 10 fire brigade engines arrived on time, lack of roads due to poor planning hampered the officers’ bid to put out the fire. Wanyonyi promised to work with county government to help the affected victims.

Meanwhile, Dagoretti OCPD George Sedah said over 15 people sustained minor injuries- and were attended to in ambulances on site and in various dispensaries and discharged.

 “We cannot speculate on the cause of the fire at the moment as investigations have started. There are few indicators and we are analysing them to unearth the actual cause,” he said.

Sedah said the fire was not as a result of land ownership conflict, adding that they have not received a report on the same.

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