More than 1,000 families spent their night out in the cold after more than 300 houses were gutted and property worth millions of shillings reduced to shell during a Tuesday night fire at a Mukuru slum in Nairobi.
Starehe deputy commissioner John Kisang told Nation that the fire broke out at around 6pm and was extinguished three hours later.
Mr Kisang added that the tragedy took place in Mukuru-Maasai slum located in Nairobi South ward in South B division.
However, Mr Kisang said detectives led by the area DCIO, Felix Nyamai Kithuku had started an investigation to determine the cause of the fire.
The slum chairman Sylvester Maithya said it was difficult for fire engines from the county government to reach the scene of the incident due to lack of access.
Six fire engines fought to put out the fire while several water bowsers pumped water to the fire engines.
Speaking at the scene, South B Youth leader Rodrigues Lunalo, said the vehicles lack of access was attributed to landgrabbers who encroached all road reserves in the neighbourhood.
Administration leaders in the South B division led by the acting Assistant Commissioner Samuel Kimeu Ndambuki and the Mukuru-Nyayo senior chief Charles Mwatha led the Kenya Red Cross officials to take data of the affected families.
The victims, who spoke to journalists said that the fire started from one house where the tenant was away, although it was alleged that an unattended candle could have set the curtain on fire.
The fire spread rapidly, fueled by strong winds, burning tens of homes.
Panic also spread among the nearby Hazina estate, with residents fearing that the fire will spread to the estate.
"Youths did a commendable work as they volunteered to put out the fire using water from Ngong River, water pipes while their colleagues were demolishing other houses to prevent the fire from spreading further," Ms Mary Kiminza Charles remarked.
Furthermore, Ms Kiminza said that nine out of ten people were treated and allowed to go home by Red Cross ambulance doctors after sustaining minor injuries.
"The other victim was rushed to Kenyatta National and Referral Hospital with severe head injuries after being attacked by angry residents for suspicion of being a looter," Ms Kiminza pointed out.
Nevertheless, looters used the opportunity to steal property pretending to be good samaritans.
Before we went to press, the government gave a strong warning that no structure will be allowed to be rebuilt until it gives direction.
"All constructions should be stopped immediately until the government issues further directions. Note that no structure will be allowed to be built near the Maasai-Hazina perimetre wall," Mr Kisang warned.