NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The death toll from the dawn fire that destroyed Nairobi’s
biggest open air market, Gikomba, has risen to 15 and more than
70 others have been hospitalized, a government official said.
Nairobi Regional Coordinator Kangethe Thuku said nine bodies
discovered inside a residential building at the open-air market
are yet to be retrieved while six have been moved to the
Thuku, who is coordinating rescue operations following the 2
a.m. inferno that razed down several market stalls, said the
deceased included four children.
"We managed to contain the fire at around 4 a.m. We have not
identified the cause of the fire," Thuku told journalists at the
Emergency service provider, St John’s Ambulance, also
confirmed the death toll, saying the injured were rushed to
various hospitals with burns. The agency said multi-agency
search and rescue operations are ongoing.
"Death toll rises to 15, 70 injured following the 2:30 a.m.
inferno at Gikomba Market," said the agency in its tweet.
St Johns Ambulance said the fire broke out and spread fast to
The incident left many traders with losses after a section
that deals with timber and clothes area was gutted down.
Thuku said some of those who died inhaled poisonous fumes as
they attempted to salvage their property.
He said the government has established a command center and
appealed to the public to report anyone missing.
Witnesses said some of the injured were trying to salvage
Others were in their houses near the market when the fire
Nairobi County police commander Joseph Ole Tito said they are
yet to establish the cause of the fire but noted that security
officers were on the ground assisting other agencies in the
search and rescue operations.
Gikomba Market, mostly known for its traders who sell
second-hand clothes, has been grappling with a spate of fires
incidents blamed on business cartels or criminal groups.
Several market stalls have been razed to the ground and the
frequent occurrence of such incidents has raised eyebrows in
The open air market suffered a raging inferno in 2015 that
affected 10,000 small scale traders.
Pre-dawn blaze at Nairobi's Gikomba killed at least 15