Chief’s tweet saves family of seven from deadly fire

Thursday January 11 2018

The aftermath of a fire that burnt down a house

The aftermath of a fire that burnt down a house in Lanet, Nakuru County. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By HILLARY KIMUYU
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A family of seven in Nakuru County is lucky to be alive after a post on Twitter by a local administrator saved them from a deadly fire that had engulfed their house as they slept.

Neighbours responded to the post by Chief Francis Kariuki of Lanet Umoja, Nakuru County, and helped put out the fire.

Two hours later a member of the family tweeted her thanks to the chief and everyone who helped her kin.

Speaking to Nairobi News, Catherine Kahacho, who shared her tweet thanking the Chief said she was also alerted by some of her neighbours to rush home because her parents’ house was on fire.

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“I was alerted by a neighbour who told me that our house was on fire and by the time I got there, people were already helping to put out the fire, I don’t know how to thank everyone who came out to help,” said Kahacho.

Her mother Veronica Kihanda, who lives with her four grandchildren in the house said there were three adults and four grandchildren when the fire broke.

According to Ms Kihanda, investigations are underway to establish the cause of the fire which started in the garage and destroyed property worth millions.

“It was past midnight when we had commotion and when we woke up we found out that there was fire coming from the garage. By the time I went to open the gate already there we several people waiting to come in and put the fire out,” she said.

She added that if it wasn’t for the people who came to help out they have no idea of what would have happened because they were all asleep at the time.

She suspects the fire was caused by people who were burning some garbage near her house during the day because Kenya Power ruled out any fault from power.

GARAGE

She said two cars, a truck which were parked in the garage were burnt completely.

Chief Kariuki says of his social media exploits on Twitter: “I am using Twitter as a tool for community policing, neighbourhood watch & crime-reporting activities.”

Most of his tweets are about lost cattle, lost and found national identity cards, job vacancies in local schools and Bible verses.

The residents, many who subscribe to his tweets through a free text messaging service, jumped into action just in time and saved the family.

Mr Kariuki’s community of 30,000 is largely rural and internet connectivity is almost non-existent and many are not users of Twitter but through the free text messaging service, they are aware of any information that he shares with the world.

He rarely engages with his followers but many understand his platform is a different one.