Traders count losses as fire guts Gikomba market

Emergency response teams are battling to contain a fire in Gikomba market. PHOTO | PETER MBURU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Several traders are counting losses after a fire razed down stalls in Gikomba market early Wednesday morning.

The fire is reported to have started at about 2am, and was still on at 7am as various emergency response teams battled to contain the inferno.

Teams from the Kenya Police, General Service Unit, Kenya Red Cross, Fire brigade among others were on the ground to put out the fire as hundreds of traders watched from a distance with dozens of police officers deployed blocking entry to the burning section.

Ms Joan Njeri, a trader at the market, said many of the traders were in shock since the fire caught them by surprise.

"We do not know the state of our businesses since we have not been allowed access by the officers manning," she said.


The fire was contained later in the morning.

“The fire has been contained thanks to Nairobi City County fire brigade. The team will carry out an assessment,” Kenya Red Cross tweeted early this morning.

The extent of damage is yet to be ascertained as the county government said it will immediately conduct investigations into the latest incident.

There have been allegations that land ownership tussles between tenants in county houses, suspected land grabbers and traders have fuelled the perennial fires in the market.

Second time

This is the second time this year that fire has razed a section of the market after the June outbreak which left at least 10 people died and property worth millions of shillings destroyed.

Past promises by the government to rein in on the menace have not been successful, even after President Uhuru Kenyatta promised stiff action would be taken against anyone found culpable of starting the fires.

A probe ordered by the president last year is yet to provide conclusive answers and two more fire outbreaks have struck since then.

"The incident has displaced many traders from all over the country and investigations should be launched to find the culprits and action be taken against them," President Kenyatta ordered in October last year.