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Fire destroys a section of Gikomba market

Property of unknown value were Tuesday night destroyed by a huge fire at the Gikomba market near the Shauri Moyo lower bridge.

The fire started at around 8pm and razed a large section of the market.

An eye witness who operates a hotel where the fire started claimed the inferno was caused by a small explosion at Joy stores that is adjacent to his eatery.

He discounted claims that the fire was caused by an electrical fault because he saw a bulb that was switched on in the store even as the fire started spreading

“It was at 7.45 when I heard a small explosion at Joy stores where people keep their bales. Then  I heard three more from different places before it spread quickly,” said John Wachira who lost all his property at Usafi kiosk.

The traders flattened stalls around the area to contain the fire.

Fire engines from Nairobi County Fire Brigade, National Youth Service and private companies who were at the scene were unable to access the area.

The traders claim that the fire engines arrived 30 minutes late and want the county government to provide stand-by engines for the market.

“We pay as much as Sh15,000 in these stalls yet the county government cannot even respond in time,” Benard Owino told journalists.

Buruburu police division commander Richard Kerich said they were yet to establish the cause of the fire but were interviewing traders to get witness accounts.

“We have moved in to secure the area against looting and have launched investigations to establish the cause of the fire,” he said.

The traders however claim that the fire might have been a case of arson following a row over a road that is supposed to pass through the market.

They claimed the fire occurred barely two weeks after a standoff over the road.

They asked the police to establish the cause of the fire.