Traders lose Sh42 million in overnight inferno
Property worth about Sh42 million was reduced to ashes in a fire incident which occurred Sunday night at Engen Jua Kali site in Thika town.
Chairman of the affected Jua Kali association Joseph Mcharia Irungu said the inferno burnt down five vehicles including two lorries under repair.
Addressing the press on Monday, Irungu said the cause of the fire was yet to be known, adding that it started near one of the lorries.
“We don’t know what could have caused the fire. There is no jiko that was lit, no one was working at night and we don’t know the cause because many people don’t work on Sunday,” explained Irungu.
He said that the fire started at around 11:00 pm and the Kiambu County fire fighters came late as they were handling a similar case in Ruiru.
According to Irungu, over 50 people were affected since a total of 30 kiosks were burnt down including motor vehicle spare parts and mattress shops.
“We want to increase our security guards so that they can keep vigil and look out for arsonists,” he said.
The chairman said to aid of victims, they would conduct a fundraiser to be graced by people of goodwill including Governor William Kabogo.
“This is the third fire incident that we are reporting for this year, and we want county officials to help us in proper planning of the site so that we can have proper pathways for easy access by fire engines to stop any inferno from spreading easily,” he said.
One of the victims Anthony Kimani said he lost property and merchandise worth over Sh4 million since had a personal vehicle, which he had not driven at all as it was being repaired while two of the kiosks burnt were his wife’s where she sold vehicle paints and spare parts.
“I had just restocked the business last week and I have lost all that I had invested in my life. I don’t know where to start,” said an emotional Kimani.
Another victim, James Mwangi, said he was called at around 11:00 pm and told that his kiosk was on fire. He rushed to the site but could not salvage anything.
“I am a mechanic and in my store, I had spare parts for customers including engines and gear boxes. I don’t know what to tell them,” he said.
Another casualty, Rose Wanjiku, she said she has never seen such an inferno before and she was even unable to walk when she saw her lifetime investment being razed down.
“I have stayed here for over 20 years and this is where I get my daily bread. I would like to urge all Kenyans of good will to come and assist us in any way possible,” said Wanjiku.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a