Cobra Squad actress “Sergeant Maria” is feared dead after the fierce fire that destroyed the Nakumatt supermarket.
“Sergeant Maria”, whose real name is Angela Wainaina, was at the height of a blossoming career as one of the two female actors of the Cobra Squad team.
She has also been a news writer with the Ghetto Radio Station, which was also gutted by a fire on Thursday morning. She was also a women’s rights activist.
Cobra Squad's producer/director, Dr Alfred Mutua, said his team was shocked by the news. “It is hard and sad to believe.”
Dr Mutua said her phone signals were last picked at the store during the inferno on Wednesday. “She was such a disciplined, industrious and gifted actor.”
She was among the pioneer actors of the show at its inception in 2007. Dr Mutua, who is also the government spokesperson, said it was a very disturbing time for the country. “The response time to calamities and evacuation needs to be improved to save lives,” he said.
Ms Consolata Wambui Wainaina, 60, mother of Angela, has very little hope that her daughter could be alive. She believes she was trapped inside the supermarket after she had seen her doctor earlier.
The presenter, who was off duty, was scheduled to resume work at the radio station before 7pm.
Ms Wainaina called Angela at 5pm to inform her that Nakumatt was burning but her phone was off.
“She is a journalist and we often call her when any news breaks. I saw the fire on TV and was tipping her,” said the mother.
She did not imagine Angela could have been a victim. “I called her again later but her phone was off. She rarely switches it off.”
Still, she was not alarmed. But things changed when she failed to report to her workplace. “She has never missed duty,” chips in her distraught sister.
Now the mother says she and her family will pursue the matter to the end for compensation. “We cannot replace Angela (if she is dead) but someone will have to pay for the negligence that we think caused these deaths,” said Ms Wainaina.
Mrs Sarah Mutheu Serry, wife of Tusker FC chief executive officer Peter Serry, is also grief-stricken.
The mother of three, like many relatives of victims of the fire tragedy, has finally lost all hope of finding her husband alive.
Her visits to the City Mortuary and all major hospitals in the city have left her with little doubt that her husband is among the unlucky victims who perished in the tragedy.
Mr Serry was among shoppers who were trapped inside the supermarket when the fateful incident happened.
The immediate former Harambee Stars team manager had walked into the store with Tusker FC coach James Nandwa to shop for mattresses for their club players in preparation for the Kenya Premier League season that starts in a week.
It had been a normal day for the chief executive following a successful morning training session at the Tusker FC Ruaraka base.
His wife Sarah recalls having spoken to him on phone as he headed to the supermarket. It was a usual chat checking on each other as the day progressed.
Reports by Benjamin Muindi, Billy Muiruri and Caroline Wafula