Friday, January 30, 2009


Onlookers and emergency workers flee after a loud blast is heard from inside the burning supermarket in Nairobi on 28/1/08
A loud blast from the burning supermarket causes people to flee

Thirty-nine people are missing and one person is dead after a fire destroyed a crowded supermarket in Nairobi, Kenya's Red Cross says.

The man died from his injuries after jumping from an upstairs window to escape the flames, officials said.

The fire broke out in the busy Nakumatt store in central Nairobi on Wednesday afternoon.

Witnesses reported seeing people trapped inside as firefighters fought for hours to control the blaze.

The operation to put out the fire was still going on 24 hours after it began, the Daily Nation newspaper reports.

Red Cross spokesman Titus Mung'ou told Reuters news agency "thirty-nine people are unaccounted for".

"One man died from injuries when he jumped from the second floor of the building," he said.

Emergency teams were counselling distraught relatives at a trauma centre set up near the burned-out store.

Women and children and five of the store's 103 staff were reportedly among the missing.

Kenyan media described scenes of chaos as the supermarket became consumed by fire.

Some survivors said they escaped by leaping from upstairs windows.

People said they had received desperate calls from relatives saying they were trapped inside and unable to escape.

Nakumatt insisted the store had been in compliance with safety regulations.

"We also wish to confirm that the building was fully fire-safety compliant and had been installed with advanced fire/smoke detectors," it said.

Experts from the army, police and fire brigade were reported to be on site as an investigation into the fire gets under way.



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