Boy, 6, dies as scores injured in Kericho apartment tragedy

Thursday, June 11th, 2020 00:00 |
A collapsed residential building in Kericho town. The incident claimed the life of a six-year-old boy and injured four others on Tuesday. The cause is yet to be established. Photo/PD/PHILIP YEGON

A six-year-old boy died and four other people sustained minor injuries when a residential building in Kericho town collapsed on Tuesday evening.

The deceased was said to have remained behind when tenants of the three-storey building fled for their dear lives. The building with six units and housing six-family tenants was said to have come down at around 7.30pm.

The injured persons who sustained minor injuries as the building was coming down were rushed to the Kericho County Referral Hospital for treatment and are said to be in stable conditions.

Kericho Emergency Response team, Red Cross coordinator Sifia Tuwei and police who rushed to the scene to rescue the tenants after combing the rubble managed to recover the remains of the boy who was trapped inside.

Eyewitnesses said the building started to sink first before collapsing killing the boy instantly and injuring the four.

Kericho County Police Commander Silas Gichunge confirmed the incident saying the boy lagged behind as others who had sensed danger fled to safety.

“It is true one has lost his life after a building came down yesterday evening (Tuesday). Rescue Teams are the ones who recovered the body of the boy trapped in one of the rooms,” Gichunge said yesterday at the scene, adding that the building-Tebs Court was owned by a Kericho contractor. 

Gichunge, however, said investigations by relevant departments to establish the actual cause of the tragedy  have commenced.

“We’re leaving the matter to the experts to tell us exactly what caused the building to sink and subsequently collapse. We hope to get the answers in the next few days,” the county police boss added.

 The National Construction Authority (NCA) is said to have taken up the matter and is expected to issue a report on a later date.

When the word went round that a building had collapsed, hundreds of the town residents thronged the area to rescue the tenants or to get a glimpse of the unfolding the would-have been tragedy. 

Tuwei said the deceased’s mother, brother and a housemaid were accounted for. The family lived on the third floor of the ill-fated building.

“The heads of the five other households accounted for all the family members. We are not however certain whether there were other people in the building,” said the Red Cross official.

Gichunge added that the building’s caretaker could not be traced. The individual was not living in the ill-fated building but in an adjacent wing and the police suspect that he fled the scene upon the collapse of the building.

Tebs View Court owner, who also  owns a local vernacular radio station owner, made a brief appearance at the site at night before melting into the crowd. One tenant in the building accused the landlord of negligence.

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