Triple tragedy as fire truck kills mourners in Nyeri

A crowd at the scene where a Nyeri County fire engine hit and killed one person in Thunguma Village on September 23, 2015. The accident occurred two hours after villagers called for help to put out a house fire. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • The accident occurred on Wednesday, two hours after residents of Thunguma Village called for help to put out a house fire.  
  • But as it was approaching the village, it lost control and swerved into a crowd that was attending a burial opposite the fire scene.

A triple tragedy has hit a Nyeri village after a fire engine killed two people and injured at least 10 others as it responded to an emergency.

The accident occurred on Wednesday, two hours after residents of Thunguma Village called for help to put out a house fire.  

One of those killed was the nephew of a woman whose house was on fire and the other a mourner.

The Nyeri County fire engine that hit and killed two people in Thunguma Village on September 23, 2015. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

One was a high school student and the other a man in his 20s, said Nyeri OCPD Charles Rotich.

The fire started at 1.30pm and the truck arrived at 3pm.

Residents of Thunguma Village in Nyeri County at the scene of the accident. This car was also hit by the truck. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP


But as it was approaching the village, it lost control and swerved into a crowd that was attending a burial opposite the fire scene.

The driver failed to stop the truck as it ploughed into the crowd. 

This is the same truck that last week had to be operated by boda boda riders after its crew were unable to use it during an inferno.

Shocked residents of Thunguma Village watch in disbelief the aftermath of the accident that killed two mourners. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“We were attending to a young woman who had fainted when we saw the truck.

"It is by luck that we rolled over because the truck’s wheels came to a halt close to my head,” said Ms Charity Wangari, who sustained minor injuries in her leg.

Another witness, Ms Joyce Muthoni, added: “The truck was moving at high speed and was out of control. It would have killed many more.”

Ambulances had to be called in to take the injured to hospital. One of the victims died on arrival in hospital. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The fire broke out at 1.30pm after a gas cylinder exploded. Witnesses said the engine arrived two-and-a-half hours later after the house had been reduced to ashes.

Kenya Red Cross volunteers at the scene where a fire destroyed a house in Thunguma Village in Nyeri County on September 23, 2015. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“Everyone was angry at the firemen because in addition to coming in late, they have caused more loss by killing and injuring people who were attending the burial,” Ms Rahab Danson said.

Part of the hydraulic system that came off the fire engine causing it to lose its brakes in Thunguma Village in Nyeri County on September 23, 2015. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The driver of the truck is said to have fled the scene.

Ten injured victims were taken to Nyeri Provincial General Hospital with fractures, cuts and grazes caused by barbed wire.

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