Family of six dies in Kericho house fire

Onlookers at the scene of the fire. All the victims were burnt beyond recognition.

Photo credit: Vitalis Kimutai | Nation Media Group

Six members of a family were killed in a fire that gutted a house in Kipkelion West, Kericho County on Sunday night.

The victims - three women and three girls - died when the fire broke out at Tumoek village, Kapkwen location in Kunyak Ward.

"A mother and her three children perished along with her sister in the inferno, which also reduced household goods to ashes," Ms Alice Yegon, the area assistant chief, told journalists at the scene of the fire on Monday morning.

All the victims were burnt beyond recognition in the timber-framed and iron-roofed house, which sent shockwaves through the area.

"Poor communication networks and the bad condition of the roads made it difficult to coordinate rescue efforts when the fire broke out at night," Ms Yegon said.

Police arrived at the scene on Monday morning and placed the victims in body bags before taking them to the mortuary for preservation, awaiting post-mortem and then release to the family for burial.

The bodies have since been taken to St Vincent's Hospital mortuary for preservation, police said.

Initial reports suggest that the fire may have been caused by a faulty solar battery which exploded, causing a fast-spreading fire when it came into contact with petrol stored in a container inside the house.

The petrol was used to fuel a power saw, according to family members and villagers who stormed the homestead on Monday.

Dozens of residents rushed to the homestead on Monday morning as news of the tragedy spread in the area, and the remote village in the Kipkelion East constituency was engulfed in grief.

"It is a sad day for the family and residents of Kipkelion West Constituency that we have lost six family members in a fire incident. I wish to condole with the families of the victims who perished in the inferno," said Hillary Koskei, the Kipkelion West MP.