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Family of four that perished in fire incident given emotional send-off

Emotions ran high on Friday as a couple and their two sons who were burnt to death on Sunday, were buried in the same grave at their Murimanjoo village home, Kathera area in Meru county.

Family members, residents and church leaders eulogised Eric Guantai, 41, his wife Caroline Gakii, 36, together with their children Tony Mwenda, 12, and Christian Karani, six, as a model family who shone in their church, community and business participation.

The mourners were inconsolable as the four coffins were lowered into the same grave, just a few metres from where their bodies were burnt beyond recognition when their timber house caught fire on Sunday morning.

Tiny coffins bearing the remains of the two children were placed between those of their parents.

Leaders, led by Meru Deputy Governor Titus Ntuchiu demanded answers from Kenya Power on the cause of the fire, saying that there had been frequent fires in the area.

Four caskets bearing the remains of a man, his wife and their two sons. PHOTO | CHARLES WANYORO

Addressing mourners during the requiem mass at Taai Methodist church near Kagwampungu market, the Deputy Governor said they had been keenly following up the matter after the demise of the young family.

FIRE DISASTERS

“We are talking to Kenya Power since we have had frequent fire disasters here. We are also talking to the County Commissioner to intervene so that we can have speedy investigations to know what really happened. We don’t want the investigations delayed. We would like to establish if it was caused by an electric fault so that we pursue it from there,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by County Chief of Staff Gideon Kimathi and a host of Meru County Assembly MCAs.

Nkuene MCA Martin Koome Makasi called for fire engines to be placed in strategic towns and markets.

On the fateful day, fire broke out at 3:30am on Sunday and rescuers found the bodies huddled together in the parents’ bedroom in what appears as an attempt by them to rescue the children.

A family member, Mr Robert Mwirigi narrated to the media how they were woken up by screams but were unable to put out the fierce fire and only accessed the building while the fire had razed the building to the ground.

Nothing was salvaged in the inferno which lasted about 20 minutes.

The fire also partly burnt two vehicles and one was pushed away while it was about to explode.

“We tried to put it off using water but it was too fierce fuelled by the wind. By the time we retrieved them, they had died,” said Mr Mwirigi who is Mr Guantai’s cousin.