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Huge fire sweeps through Gikomba market in Nairobi

Friday October 6 2017

Fire at Gikomba Market.

The fire at Gikomba Market, Nairobi on October 6, 2017. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

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Firefighters in Nairobi are battling a huge fire at Gikomba market after a blaze broke out in the open air market.

The fire took hold at the fish and groceries section at about 3am on Friday.

Nairobi County head of security Francis Munyambu says all county fire engines are the scene but congestion and inaccessibility is slowing down the fire fighting.

He says the county has also asked for help from the G4S firefighting team.

Gikomba fire

Traders try to salvage their goods as fire sweeps through the market. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In an update, the National Disaster Management Unit appealed persons and companies with fire engines and water boozers to help fight the fire that was quickly spreading to a building housing two banks.


The cause of the fire is unknown although one theory is arson.

Some traders told that unknown people torched selected stalls using petrol.

Jane Nzuki, a second-hand clothes dealer at the market said she lost stock worth Sh1 million.

Ms Nzuki accused people with ill motives “who are out to gain politically” for the blaze.

Onlookers at the scene. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA |


Another business owner, James Kilonzo, lashed out at politicians for being insensitive to small-scale traders like him in the market.

“Choppers are readily available for the politicians to campaign but the same cannot be used when there is a tragedy like this,” he said.

“Predictably, the leaders will come here and give every trader Sh10,000 while the value of the goods we have lost runs into millions,” he added.

Gikomba fire

The fire at Gikomba market, Nairobi, on Friday morning.

No casualties have been reported in the fire that is yet to be contained more than six hours after it started.

Additional reporting by Anthony Omuya