alexa Airport blaze blamed on neglect, unqualified staff - Daily Nation

Airport blaze blamed on neglect, unqualified staff

Wednesday August 21 2013

PHOTO | NATION A fire at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on August 7, 2013.

PHOTO | NATION A fire at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on August 7, 2013. NATION MEDIA GROUP

By ANGIRA ZADOCK

Negligence and incompetence on the part of Kenya Airports Authority could have caused Jomo Kenyatta airport fire, preliminary investigation reports indicate.

The authority failed to maintain and install new fire engines that could tackle building fires and not just aeroplane fires at the international airport, detectives said on Wednesday.

Senior KAA officials allegedly shelved a proposal to have the fire engines on the airside. The chief fire marshal has presented the memos he wrote to top management but no action was taken.

At the time the blaze broke out, the investigators said, the closed circuit TV control centre was not working and the detectives relied on the one from the Kenya Airways in their investigations.

The authority had been advised to put up temporary barriers at the entrance of the international arrivals but it instead reinforced the metallic barriers.

The KAA security officer who was in charge of the night shift also allegedly prevented the firefighters from breaking the glass wall to access the scene of fire, saying that the glass was very expensive.

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Over 100 people have so far been interrogated, including both senior and junior officers from KAA, Kenya Airways and Immigration department.

Engineers from Kenya Power found that there was no electricity fault but indicated that maintenance was very poor.

The power cables which were supposed to be serviced annually were last serviced nine years ago.

However, KAA head of security Eric Kiraithe said that the investigations were still going on, adding that the findings would be ready in the next one week.

Inspector-General David Kimaiyo yesterday fired an inspector who had been arrested together with his colleagues over allegations of looting at the airport. Two of his colleagues, a sergeant and a corporal, have been demoted to the ranks of corporal and constable, respectively, and transferred from GSU training school.