Families rendered homeless, scores injured in Mlolongo dawn fire
Five guest houses and 50 rental units have been reduced to ashes at Mlolongo in Machakos County, with residents counting losses.
Four adults, two males and females, escaped the fierce inferno with minor injuries.
The 5am fire incident whose cause is yet to be established is said to have started in one of the guest houses along Madharau Street before it quickly spread to other neighboring guest houses and rental mabati units.
According to residents, the fire was fierce since most housing units have gas cylinders that fueled the fire.
No property was salvaged in the incident that left business persons counting losses.
The tents of families have been rendered homeless now fear they will spend the night in the cold. Tens of schools going children were affected.
Agitated residents however blame the county government of Machakos over its laxity in responding to emergencies saying the county fire brigade did not respond to help in the incident.
The fire was instead put off by the Nairobi County government fire brigade who responded to the incident an hour later.
"We are just wondering how safe we are in times of emergencies because all our Machakos fire brigade are stalled. We as taxpayers are disappointed that even such an essential service is not available. We have lost property of unknown value and we are helpless and devastated,’’ Eric Matheka said.
Mlolongo assistant County commissioner Dennis Oganga says the fire bridge managed to stop further spread of the fierce fire to the surrounding properties.
He says police officers and administration officers responded in earnest to control the surging crowd from looting in adjustment business premises.
"Four people have been injured and three rushed to a private hospital and one to Shallom community hospital. Majority of occupants managed to escape unhurt after a distress call was raised and neighbors called out to each other to escape for safety. The Mlolongo police officers responded very first and in conjunction with our administration officers managed to safeguard looting by people with ill motives. We also managed to control surging crowds to observe the covid 19 safety protocols,’’ Oganga said.
Oganga urged members of the public to stay alert even during emergencies and not to drop guard against covid 19 safety protocols in an effort to fight the pandemic.
Residents now want the county government of Machakos emergency department to take responsibility and respond in cases of emergencies to avoid losses and damages that result from fire incidents.