Death Toll In Kenyan Gas Blast Rises To Six

People stand on the walls of a damaged building to see the wreckage of burnt trunks and tankers, the day after a gas explosion created severe damages in the Embakasi area of Nairobi on February 2, 2024.(Photo by LUIS TATO / AFP)

The death toll from last week’s gas explosion in Nairobi has grown to six, with three additional victims dying from burns, the government’s spokesperson said Sunday.

Of the 280 people injured in Thursday night’s explosion, 53 are still being treated at two hospitals in Kenya’s capital.

A vehicle carrying gas canisters exploded just before midnight Thursday in Embakasi, a heavily populated Nairobi area, leaving a trail of devastation and sending people fleeing for their lives.

“We regret to report that three more people have died as a result of their injuries, bringing the total death toll from the Embakasi fire incident to six,” spokesperson Isaac Maigua Mwaura said in a statement.

So yet, only one person has been arrested: a security guard at the site.

“The search is still ongoing for the owner of that business,” a police source told AFP.

However, the suspect’s lawyer stated that he was not hiding and bears no blame.

“My client was not operating a gas-filling plant,” the lawyer stated during a press conference on Saturday. “He was operating a garage and the vehicle that caused the accident was trespassing the premise.”

According to the 2019 census, Embakasi is a residential and industrial district with a population of approximately one million, located 10 kilometers (six miles) from Kenya’s main international airport.

The Petroleum Institute of East Africa initially reported on Friday that the incident occurred at a “illegal LPG refilling and storage site” whose owner and some customers were convicted and jailed in May 2023.

However, Kenya’s National Environment Authority (NEMA) confirmed on Saturday that Maxxis Nairobi Energy acquired license to operate the site on February 2 of last year. Four NEMA employees have been suspended.

President William Ruto stated, without citing NEMA, that “government officials issued licences for gas installations in residential areas when it was very clear that it was the wrong thing to do, but because of incompetence and corruption they issued licences.”

Ruto stated that they should be fired and “prosecuted for the crimes they have committed”.

According to early findings, “the refilling of LPG cylinders was done using direct manifold connections to LPG tanker, increasing the risk of leakage and explosion” according to a joint statement by the interior and energy ministers.

“Twice in March 2020 and January 2021, the plant that was illegally constructed at the said location was demolished… the operators charged in court,” it went on to say.



Written by PH

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