Nairobi (Hornlife) — A gas explosion that claimed the lives of at least three people and left 280 others injured has rocked Embakasi estate, a suburb in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Thursday night.
The calamity, occurring just minutes before midnight, also displaced numerous families and caused substantial damage to properties.
Government Spokesman Isaac Mwaura confirmed the casualties, revealing that two individuals lost their lives while receiving medical attention at a city hospital.
Among the injured, 21 are being treated at Kenyatta National Hospital, 160 at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, 19 at Mbagathi Hospital, 14 at Modern Komarock Hospital, and eight at Nairobi West Hospital.
Contrary to earlier reports, the Kenyan government clarified that the explosion did not take place in a gas refilling plant but resulted from the detonation of a gas-loaded lorry.
“One lorry of an unknown registration number that was loaded with gas exploded, igniting a huge ball of fire that spread widely,” said Mr. Mwaura. “A flying gas cylinder hit Oriental Godown, burning down the said godown which deals with garments and textiles.”
Eyewitnesses recounted the horror, describing multiple explosions that shattered the peace of the night and sent flames and smoke soaring into the sky.
The incident caused panic among residents, who reported hearing sirens and witnessed a massive fireball engulfing the area.
“The explosions are huge, the sky is red. No firefighters. It’s scary, so people are forwarding whatever gives hope,” shared a resident living in Nyayo estate.
The aftermath revealed extensive damage, including destroyed vehicles and commercial properties, with the government assuring the public that the scene is now secure.
A command center has been established to coordinate ongoing rescue operations and intervention efforts.
But questions remain over why authorities allowed a gas factory to operate inside a residential area.