Kenya gas explosion kills 3, injures 280

Friday February 02 2024
embakasi explosion

Screengrabs from a user video of the explosion at Embakasi in Nairobi, Kenya on February 1, 2024. PHOYO | COURTESY


At least three people have been confirmed dead and 280 injured following a gas explosion on Thursday night at Embakasi in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

Several families were also displaced and property of unknown value destroyed during the incident that happened a few minutes to midnight.

In a statement on Friday morning, Government Spokesman Isaac Mwaura said the two died while being attended to at a city hospital.

Of the injured, 21 are receiving treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital, 160 at Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital, 19 at Mbagathi Hospital, 14 at Modern Komarock Hospital, and eight at Nairobi West Hospital.

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The government has also clarified that the explosion did take place in a gas refilling plant as it had stated in a previous update.


"One lorry of an unknown registration number that was loaded with gas exploded, igniting a huge ball of fire that spread widely," Mr Mwaura said.

"A flying gas cylinder hit Oriental Godown, burning down the said godown which deals with garments and textiles," he added.

The residents first reported hearing a big explosion followed by a huge ball of fire that engulfed the area. Several explosions and the fireball sent the residents into panic.

The inferno also damaged several vehicles and commercial properties, including small and medium-sized businesses, the government spokesman said.

"The scene has now been secured and a command centre is now in place to help coordinate rescue operations and other intervention efforts," he said.

Multiple explosions

With rescue operations still ongoing, the government said the scene has now been secured but warned members of the public to keep off the cordoned area.

Read: 14 killed after hill collapses on mine in Rwanda

Eyewitness and frightened area residents said their peaceful night was disrupted by multiple explosions that sent flames and smoke billowing into the sky. 

"Huge explosions, huge fireballs, people screaming and running everywhere for fear of more explosions. Power cut, some people driving out of the estate. We can hear sirens now. The fire is in a warehouse next to an estate called Skyline and an informal settlement called Mradi," an eyewitness told Nation.Africa. 

"We are all out of the houses. The explosions are huge, the sky is red. No firefighters. It's scary so people are forwarding whatever gives hope," said a Nation journalist who lives in Nyayo estate.

The raging fire engulfed buildings, with residents of neighbouring estates coming out in droves amidst screams for fear of being caught in the inferno.

*Story updated with latests figures on death toll and injuries.