Property worth an estimated Sh35 million has been reduced to ashes after fire erupted in Mtwapa town, Kilifi County.
Three night clubs, Bistro, Naiz and Bridges were among those affected by the fire which broke out Tuesday at around 2.30am. It also burnt other business stalls.
M-Pesa stalls, wine and spirits stores, two retail shops, a salon and a movie shop were among other business destroyed by the fire.
The incident caused panic in the resort town which is frequented by revellers who scampered for safety when the clubs caught fire.
Eyewitnesses said the fire started after an electric fault from a power pole near Naiz club before it spread to the other clubs and business stores.
“The wire connecting the main pole disconnected from the pole and fell on the makuti of the club igniting the huge fire. It then spread to the clubs and some residential houses near the entertainment joints,” said Mr Dominic Ambajo who witnessed the incident.
Mr John Njoroge, the manager of Bistro Club, said he did not salvage anything from his business premises and incurred a loss of Sh15 million.
“I had a sound system worth Sh2.6 million which has been reduced to ashes. I had a stock of food and drinks which has been razed. The fire also burnt my nine TV sets and four fridges – those are just some of the things that I had and we did not salvage any,” said Mr Njoroge.
His colleague from Bridges Club, Linus Musana, said he had bought the place last year and used Sh2 million for renovations.
“We had put a stock of Sh1.5 million – there was furniture and the music system which have all gone. The total loss is about Sh10 million because our workers could not save anything,” said Mr Musana.
Boniface Onyango, the supervisor of Naiz Club, said he lost property worth Sh5 million following the fire. A curving store owner Daniel Tumuke lost Sh3 million worth of his goods.
Mr Tumuke could not hold back his tears as he assessed damages at his stall that he has been operating for more than 25 years.
“I was asleep when I was alerted of the fire. I came out to move my motorcycle away from the scene but before I could return all my property had been destroyed by the fire,” said Mr Tumuke.
The traders and residents blamed fire fighters from Kilifi County for failure to quickly respond to the emergency.
They complained that not a single fire engine from the county responded.
“The fire was put off by fire fighters from Mombasa County who also responded after properties had been razed. But it is sad to see that Mtwapa, which contributes greatly to the economy of Kilifi, could not get help when it required it most,” said Nancy Mwende, a trader.
The traders said they have been contributing Sh4,000 for fire emergency yet they could not get value for their money.
As the traders complained, youths had a field day as they helped themselves with beer which was strewn on the ground.
The youths also looted some goods from the affected traders.