NAIROBI, Kenya — A truck loaded with gas exploded and set off an inferno that burned homes and warehouses in Kenya’s capital early Friday, injuring more than 200 people and killing at least three with authorities expecting the death toll to rise.
A number of residents were likely inside their homes when the fire reached their houses late in the night, government spokesman Isaac Mwaura said.
A truck with an unknown registration number and loaded with gas exploded, igniting a huge fireball, the spokesman said. A flying gas cylinder hit Oriental Godown, burning down the warehouse that deals with garments and textiles.
Several other vehicles and businesses were damaged by the inferno that started around 11:30 p.m. Thursday in the Mradi area of the Nairobi neighborhood of Embakasi.
The Kenya Red Cross reported three deaths. The toll may rise after daybreak, Wesley Kimeto, the Embakasi police chief said.
The government said 222 people were injured and rushed to hospitals. The Kenya Red Cross later counted more than 270 injuries.
Nairobi residents who took several videos of the fire with their phones were heard speaking in concerned tones, some of them screaming.
Neighbor Caroline Karanja said they had to run away after the explosion after police cordoned off the entire area.
“Police were turning away everyone and so it was difficult to access my house and I had to seek a place to sleep until this morning,” Karanja said. She said the smell and smoke were still choking, and she would have to stay away for a while because she had young children.
The proximity of the industrial company to residences raised questions about enforcement of city plans. Officials at the county government have been accused of taking bribes to overlook building codes and regulations.
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