Nairobi News

News

My horror as 20 lost lives in Nakumatt fire

A manager with Nakumatt Supermakets chain told an inquest how fire broke out killing more than 20 people.

Mr Philip Ligalaba, then the Nakumatt Downtown branch manager said that on January 28, 2009, everything was moving well until around 2.30pm when the fire alarm went off.

First floor smoke

The witness said he ran downstairs from the first floor to find out where the smoke was coming from. It was from a generator.

“I moved to the main store to tell people to move out. I heard many shouts of ‘fire! fire!’” Mr Ligalaba told the inquest at Milimani.

Mr Ligalaba is currently a regional manager with the supermarket chain.

He said he and other staff then rushed to the shopping area where they pushed customers towards Kenyatta Avenue exit.

“The smoke was now turning from white to black. At that point, we had confirmed it was fire,” said Mr Ligalaba.

The witness said they used to sell cooking gas which was kept on the first floor, but added that the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and city’s fire brigade would later advise them on where to keep the cylinders.

Mr Ligalaba told Chief Magistrate Kiarie Waweru that the supermarket had three access points and they were not locked during shopping hours.

He said they discovered that five of their colleagues perished during the fire after an employee headcount was conducted.

Another witness Mr Evans Momanyi who was a shop assistant said there were many blackouts on the fateful day.