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Multi-Agency team reveals cause of the Kisumu inferno incident

A multi- agency team appointed by Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o to probe the weekend Jua Kali area fire has identified electrical fault as one of the causes of the inferno.

Chaired by Acting City Manager Abala Wanga, the team which conducted investigations and interviews at the site identified three possible causes of the fire which razed down property worth millions of shillings.

Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o who received the report on Tuesday said electrical fault has been identified as one of the causes of the fire.

The electrical fault from one of the workshops that specialized in generator repairs, he said, could have triggered the fire based on the information collected on the site.

Overnight cooking from one of the eateries at the affected area, he added, has also been identified as a possible cause of the inferno.

He said the team was however also exploring arson as the cause of the five given a long standing tussle between the jua kali artisans and a private developer over the parcel of land.

The team, he said, noted that the site had been interfered with, contrary to the standard practice of hoarding fire outbreak sites, pending investigations.

Even though the actual extent of damage had not been established, he said the team confirmed that 60 stalls built with corrugated iron sheets and timber were reduced to ashes.

The stalls according to the jua kali artisans contained equipment used to manufacture various products among them spare parts and motor vehicle paints.

Several vehicles that were parked in a nearby garage were also destroyed in the inferno.

He said the operators had no general business insurance cover at the time of the incident, a situation that impaired the possibility of valuing the assets before the fire.

Lack of firefighting equipment on the site, blocked access roads, lack of emergency exits, temporary built structures on the road and prefabrication works on the roads hampered efforts by firefighters who responded on time.

The situation, he added, was compounded by the merchandise like petroleum products, vehicle tyres, leather products, LPG, fire wood and charcoal.

Prof. Nyong’o said to avert similar incidents in future, the team has called for sensitization of members of the public on securing fire tragedy sites pending investigations.

Another measure, he said, was to enforce compliance to fire safety and preparedness measures by business premises.

He said assessment for the temporary construction materials was ongoing to reinstate the businesses and livelihoods.

The governor noted that the multi-agency team has proposed total redevelopment of the affected area with proper spatial planning and fire resistant/non-flammable construction materials such as concrete and concrete blocks.

“This is a long-term intervention to help us stop frequent fires that have affected our economy and should be spearheaded by the County Government of Kisumu, Jua Kali leadership and land owners,” he said.

By Chris Mahandara

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