Fire destroys city restaurant under renovation
Property of unknown value was destroyed on Saturday when fire razed a city restaurant on Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi’s central business district that was under renovation.
The fire is said to have started at around 9.15a.m. in the building that lies between a petrol station and Emperor Plaza, and which was being refurbished ahead of its re-opening.
Ms Lucy Mbuthia, who works at Bakers Inn, said she heard people screaming from the first floor of the building.
“I just heard shouts of people fleeing from the building. Together with other workers on the ground floor we ran for our safety as there was heavy smoke coming out of the building,” she said.
The businesses on the building’s ground floor including leather dealers Asili Company Limited, White Rose dry cleaners and Bakers Inn were not affected by the fire.
The incident paralysed movement on the busy street as hundreds of people milled around to catch a glimpse of what was going on as they police kept them at a distance.
Central police boss Patrick Oduma said the cause of the fire was yet to be established and observed that it started on the first floor of the building.
Nairobi County Business District Association’s David Gachuru regretted that county preparedness in handling disasters was still very poor.
“This was a very small fire, but the fire fighters came in late when it had already destroyed the first floor,” he said.
He also hit out at the petrol station saying they had no firefighting equipment’s to handle the fire despite being in the CBD.
NCC and National Youth Service firefighters managed to put out the blaze after about 45 minutes with three vehicles.
Meanwhile, jua kali artisans at Kariokor in Nairobi are counting their losses after fire destroyed more than 300 vehicles in a garage.
Mr John Maina, the chairman of Ziwani Jua Kali engineering works association, said the fire started at around 11.30pm on Friday owing to an electrical fault at a nearby workshop.
“The fire spread fast due to plastics bags and chemicals used in the workshop therefore burning all vehicles that were here for repair,” said Mr Maina.
He said the 300 artisans and traders who were selling spare parts had lost more than Sh100 million and called on the government to come to their rescue.
“We have lost our source of income. Some of these people have loans that they need to repay and it is hard for them to recover without the support from government and well-wishers.
He added that they have no insurance for their business and that is why they were appealing for help.
The chairman added that about 10 vehicles were set to be collected by their owners yesterday but were burnt beyond repair.
Mr Maina blamed the firefighting team in the county for arriving at the scene late and without enough water.