Embakasi gas explosion: 3 confirmed dead, 280 injured

Embakasi explosions cause deaths and injuries

At least three people have been confirmed dead and 222 injured following the gas explosion that rocked Mradi Village in Embakasi, Nairobi,  on Thursday night.

Several families were also displaced and property of unknown value was destroyed during the incident that happened a few minutes before midnight.

In a statement, Government Spokesman Isaac Mwaura on Friday said the two died while being attended to at a city hospital.

Later on Friday morning, Mr Mwaura said another person had succumbed to injuries. He said DCI officers had also arrested a guard manning the premises when the incident occurred.

The aftermath of a huge gas blast in Embakasi Nairobi last night.

The aftermath of a huge gas blast in Embakasi Nairobi last night.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

Of the injured, 21 are being attended to at the Kenyatta National Hospital, 160 at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, 19 at Mbagathi Hospital, 14 at Modern Komarock Hospital, and eight at Nairobi West Hospital.

The government has also clarified that the explosion did not take place in a gas refilling plant as it had stated in a previous update.

"One lorry of an unknown registration number that was loaded with gas exploded, igniting a huge ball of fire that spread widely," Mwaura said.

"A flying gas cylinder hit Oriental Godown, burning down the said godown which deals with garments and textiles."

The residents first reported hearing a huge explosion followed by a huge ball of fire that engulfed the area.

Several other blasts followed shortly, sending the residents into panic mode.

The aftermath of a huge gas blast in Embakasi Nairobi last night.

Medical teams worked around the clock to treat the injured, most of whom suffered from gas inhalation.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

The inferno also damaged several vehicles and commercial properties, including small and medium-sized businesses, the government spokesman said.

"The scene has now been secured and a command centre is now in place to help coordinate rescue operations and other intervention efforts," he said.

Multiple explosions

With rescue operations still ongoing, the government said the scene had been secured but warned members of the public to keep off the cordoned area.

Witnesses and frightened residents said their peaceful night was disrupted by multiple explosions that sent flames and smoke billowing into the sky. 

"Huge explosions, huge fireballs, people screaming and running everywhere for fear of more explosions," a witness told the Nation. 

The aftermath of a huge gas blast in Embakasi Nairobi last night.

The aftermath of a huge gas blast in Embakasi, Nairobi, on Thursday night. Nema has suspended 4 officers over the licensing of Maxxis Nairobi Energy

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

"Power cut, some people driving out of the estate. We can hear sirens now. The fire is in a warehouse next to an estate called Skyline and an informal settlement called Mradi".

"We are all out of the houses. The explosions are huge, the sky is red. No firefighters. It's scary so people are forwarding whatever gives hope," said a Nation journalist who lives in Nyayo estate.

The raging fire engulfed neighbouring buildings, with residents of neighbouring estates coming out in droves amidst screams for fear of being caught up in the flames.