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Woman dies, scores injured in Kawangware fire

A 28-year-old woman said to be mentally Ill was burnt to death after a fire broke out in her house in Kawangware.

The fire that spread fast destroyed 40 iron sheet shanties in Gatina slum. Scores of people were also injured trying to escape.

Witnesses said they heard a commotion in the woman’s one roomed house before the fire started.

“It was like she was throwing things around and shouting. When I went outside I saw fire engulfing her house and it quickly spread to my sitting room,” Ms Karen Naliaka said.

It is suspected the victim doused the house with an inflammable substance and started the fire after locking herself inside the house. She lived with her two children who were outside playing at the time.

Frantic calls

A police officer at the scene of the fire in Gatina slum on April 12, 2014. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
A police officer at the scene of the fire in Gatina slum on April 12, 2014. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE

Relatives said she had been mentally unstable since her separation with her husband almost three years ago.

“She fell sick often and was on several occasions hospitalised. I spoke to her this morning and she looked well,” Ms Lucy Njeri a grandmother to the deceased said. Her husband was said to be abusive.

Police took the body to City Mortuary for a postmortem exam. Investigations to ascertain the cause of the fire are ongoing.

Kawangware has experienced three fires since the beginning of the year, none of which were contained even after frantic calls were made to the fire brigade.

Residents said they called the fire station but the brigade failed to respond. Only a few people salvaged their belongings.