Incident took place in the Embakasi district of Nairobi late on Thursday night and firefighters were still trying to douse the flames at dawn.
At least two people have been killed and hundreds injured after a gas explosion triggered a massive fire in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.
The fire broke out on Thursday night in the Embakasi neighbourhood, government spokesman Isaac Maigua Mwaura said on social media platform X.
“One Lorry [truck] of an unknown registration number that was loaded with gas exploded, igniting a huge ball of fire that spread widely,” he wrote, adding that vehicles, businesses and residential homes had been consumed by the flames.
“A good number of residents [were] still inside as it was late at night,” he said.
Wesley Kimeto, commander in charge of police in Embakasi, was quoted saying on The Standard newspaper’s X account that at least two people had been confirmed dead in the incident.
The Kenyan Red Cross said it had taken some 271 people to health facilities around the capital and 27 were treated on site.
Firefighters were still working to bring the fire under control at about 6:30am local time (03:30 GMT), according to the AFP news agency, and large columns of black smoke were seen rising into the air on the outskirts of the city.
In his statement, Mwaura added that the area had now “been secured, and a command centre is now in place to help coordinate rescue operations and other intervention efforts”.
“Kenyans are hereby advised to keep off the cordoned area in order to allow the rescue mission to be carried out with minimal disruptions,” he added.
But for nearby residents, the fire has impacted livelihoods and businesses.
“The whole building was shaken by a huge tremor, it felt like it was going to collapse. At first, we didn’t even know what was happening, it was like an earthquake,” James Ngoge, who lives across the street from where the fire broke out, told AFP.
Ngoge added that his business, which was on the street where the fire broke out, was now “completely destroyed”.