Traders count losses as goods worth millions burnt in Kibuye market fire

This is the fourth time in less than a year that Kibuye Market has experienced fire incidences

Saturday March 5 2016

A woman looks at the trail of destruction at Kibuye open market in Kisumu. The market was razed down by fire on Friday night, March 5, 2016. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA

A woman looks at the trail of destruction at Kibuye open market in Kisumu. The market was razed down by fire on Friday night, March 5, 2016. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SILAS APOLLO
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Traders in Kisumu are counting losses after fire razed the region’s largest open air market, Kibuye, on Friday night.

The 8pm fire, burnt down half of the market destroying stalls, stores and goods valued at millions of shillings, according to traders.

This is the fourth time the market has experienced fire incidences in less than a year.

Among sections destroyed included furniture workshops, grocery and clothes' stores, hardware, and a section of offices. Fire fighters contained the inferno in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Residents attempt to put off the raging fire at Kibuye Market in Kisumu on March 4, 2016. The night fire consumed property worth millions of shillings.  PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP.

Residents attempt to put off the raging fire at Kibuye Market in Kisumu on March 4, 2016. The night fire consumed property worth millions of shillings. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP.

Eyewitnesses said the inferno could have been caused by a faulty power line in one of the stores.

Mr Peter Amollo, whose workshop was burnt down during the incident, said the fire begun at a neighbour’s store before spreading to nearby stalls in the market. They suspect he had left his electric cooker on.

“Most of the kiosks were wooden while some were made of iron sheets making the fire to spread faster. The inferno started from a hotel kitchen,” he said.

His colleague George Okola, whose carpentry store was destroyed, said he received a phone call from a friend informing him of the fire, only to return and find his store burnt down.

Traders help a fireman contain smouldering

Traders help a fireman contain smouldering debris after a trail of destruction in Kibuye open market that was razed down by fire yesternight. The traders blame the fire on the consistent power blackout that was experienced yesterday that led to an explossion when live wires touched each other. Goods worth millions of shillings was lost in the inferno 05-03-2016. Photo/TOM OTIENO

QUITE SHOCKING

“The fire spread in the area and could not be contained by those present. The rate at which it spread was quite shocking. By the time the fire brigade arrived almost most shops had been razed,” he said.

Ms Priscilla Atieno, a grocery trader said she received a call that his wares were on fire and could not save a thing.

“I watched helplessly as the fire consumed my property. Many of those who have been affected depended on these businesses as their only source of income,” she said.

The fire fighters in collaboration with the traders helped to extinguish the fire despite the wind which spread it farther.

Traders try to salvage property from the debris after a fire that razed half of Kibuye open market in Kisumu on Friday night, March 04, 2016. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Traders try to salvage property from the debris after a fire that razed half of Kibuye open market in Kisumu on Friday night, March 04, 2016. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Governor Jack Ranguma who toured the market said the county will assist the traders recover some of the losses and build new stall to replace the destroyed.

“We are also in the process of re-designing the market to avoid fire outbreaks attributed to electric faults due to poor and illegal connections. We are going to open roads and improve the drainage system to make it more efficient for users,” he said.

County Police Commander Nelson Njiiri said investigations had begun on the cause of the fire.

“We are compiling statements from those affected and eye witnesses to ascertain the cause of the fire,” he said.

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