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Nakumatt’s fire equipment were fit for use, inquest told

Fire fighting equipment at the razed down Nakumatt supermarket Downtown  branch  were fit to be used, an inquest has been told.

A maintenance technician Mr Japheth Musyoki said faults on the equipment were minor and could not stop their usage.

Mr Musyoki said he was working for Firetech International Limited when he was instructed to go to the supermarket to carry out maintenance work on the fire fighting equipment.

The maintenance was done on November 28, 2008, two months before the inferno.

“I did the inspection and maintenance of all equipment that were at the supermarket,” said Mr Musyoka, adding that the fire alarm was operational.

Among the faults he found on the equipment were a worn-out hose reel tube nozzle and a rusting cartridge on one of the 9 litre fire extinguisher.

The witness was testifying before Nairobi chief magistrate Ms Hannah Ndung’u on Tuesday during an inquest into the 2009 fire at the supermarket which was located at the central business district.

At least 20 people lost their lives in the fire.

Another witness, Mr Eston Njiru told the court that on September 3, 2008 they had been asked to go to the supermarket where they were tasked with soundproofing the generator room.

“My colleagues and I went there, we found a generator room to be wooden,” said Mr Njiru, adding that he wrote a report saying there was still some noise on the exhaust.

The witness said they were later called to rectify the noise on the exhaust and install a residential silencer.

Another witness, Mr Kennedy Mahiva said he had gone to the supermarket for shopping and lights upstairs went off before he saw two people running as if they were escaping from something.

“I told one person who seemed to be an employee of the supermarket that there might be fire, I asked him if there was a way out,” said Mr Mahiva.

The witness said they went to a room where there were some barrels and that wooden ventilation was broken before he jumped on the ground where he sustained injuries.

Prosecuting counsel Mr Eddie Kaddebe sought for an adjournment saying there are 10 more witnesses to be called.

The inquest was adjourned to June 24.