A tragic incident rocked Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, as a massive gas explosion claimed the lives of at least three individuals and left nearly 300 injured.
The catastrophic event occurred in the Embakasi district around 11:30 PM local time, causing a massive fireball to erupt when a gas-laden truck exploded, according to government officials.
The explosion wreaked havoc on residential areas, businesses, and vehicles, as captured in videos showing intense flames engulfing blocks of flats and commercial properties.
Authorities swiftly cordoned off the affected area and launched an investigation to determine the cause of the explosion. Initial reports suggested that a guard at the site was apprehended in connection with the incident.
Tragically, among the casualties was a child, as confirmed by Embakasi police chief Wesley Kimeto, who also warned that the death toll might escalate as the situation unfolds.
Emergency responders rushed 271 injured individuals to hospitals, including 25 children, with Nairobi’s Mayor Sakaja Johnson indicating that many had been treated and discharged. However, at least 39 people sustained critical injuries and required further medical attention, while 27 others received on-site treatment for less severe injuries.
Contrary to earlier reports indicating the explosion occurred at a gas plant, authorities clarified that it originated from a truck parked in a yard.
The intensity of the blast caused widespread damage, with a flying gas cylinder igniting a nearby warehouse and numerous vehicles and businesses being engulfed by the inferno.
As the fire raged, a search and rescue operation commenced to locate any missing individuals and ensure their safety.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority revealed that the gas plant involved lacked proper authorization and had been denied construction permits multiple times due to safety concerns and its proximity to densely populated areas.
Government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura, who surveyed the site, emphasized the need for the company responsible to compensate victims and accept accountability for the tragedy, denouncing the disregard for safety standards and the pursuit of profit at the expense of human lives.
Eyewitnesses recounted harrowing experiences of the explosion, describing objects propelled into the air and scenes of chaos and devastation. Many individuals suffered severe burns and injuries in the ordeal.
A command center was established to coordinate rescue efforts, with authorities urging the public to avoid the affected area to facilitate the ongoing rescue operations with minimal disruptions.