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Traders lose millions in Kongowea market night inferno

Sunday January 26 2020

MOHAMED AHMED
By MOHAMED AHMED
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Traders at Kongowea market in Mombasa are counting losses running into millions of shillings after a section of the marketplace was razed by an inferno on Saturday night.

Kongowea market is the largest in the Coast region.

The fire broke out at the mitumba clothes section.

Witnesses said the fire started at around 11pm in a section known as Matopeni, which is at the centre of the market.

Thousands of traders operate from the market which also sells vegetables and fruits.

LOUD BANG

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Dickson Mureithi, a vendor who resides within the market, said the inferno started after a loud bang was heard.

"We just heard the bang before the fire spread out. It has affected some structures here. It is very big," said Mr Mureithi.

Firefighters arrived at the market to put out the inferno but soon ran out of water.

Police said they have launched investigations to establish the cause of the fire.

It took firefighters from the county, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Navy five hours to finally control the inferno.

“I had goods worth millions of shillings in my stall. I have lost all of them. I do not know where I will start,” said Mr Francis Kamau, a trader who has been operating at the market for the last six years.

ASSESSING DMAGE

On Sunday morning, Mombasa Deputy Governor William Kingi led the county leaders to assess the damage.

He said further assessments will be done on Monday by county officials who will also collect names of the affected traders.

“Our Trade department has records of the traders who were here so the list will be confirmed to avoid picking those who were not affected as we plan to put up new structures,” said Dr Kingi.

He said traders who were operating from the affected section will be allowed to occupy the new structures to be put up soon.