Tame Kongowea market infernos, traders tell State

Monday, January 27th, 2020 00:00 | By
Kongowea market inferno. Photo/File

Traders at the Kongowea market have called on investigative agencies to expedite probe over frequent fire incidents at the facility.

This is after property worth millions of shillings was destroyed on Saturday night when fire razed a section of clothes stalls and businesses at the market.

Traders, led by the market chairman John Mwenda, called on police to expedite investigations over frequent fire incidents at the market.

He said this is the fourth time traders in the market are experiencing losses due to fire.

“Not an year goes by without traders losing property worth millions, it is time the investigative agencies established what causes the fire,” he said.

Eyewitnesses told People Daily the fire destroyed the second-hand clothes section where there are over 100 tailors and several food kiosks.

The fire, whose cause is yet to be established, broke out at around 11pm.

One of the traders Wairimu Wangari  accused the county government’s fire department of failing to respond on time, adding that efforts by the traders to put out the fire using twigs had failed.

She accused area leaders of not coming to their aid in time of need. “We have not seen any leader coming to console us,’’ she said.

“The fire began at 11pm but the county fire department responded at 12am, and even then, they were unable to put out the fire until they asked for back-up from the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and the Kenya Navy. Due to the delay, the fire spread to other shops,” she said.

A food kiosk owner Josephine Moraa and lucy said all her stock of maize, beans, rice, cooking oil as well as utensils were destroyed by the fire.

 Property scavengers had a field day as they carted away metallic objects that included frames of sewing machines. 

Frequent fire incidents

 Kongowea market has in the past experienced several cases of fire. 

Judith Kawira, a tailor said  all her life  savings had gone up in flames. “I am still in shock and was unable to attend church today following this fire that has rendered me jobless,’’ she said.

Nyali sub-county police Commander Daniel Masaba said  they were yet to establish the value of property lost during the inferno. He however said they were contacting affected traders to record statements.

“No casualties have been reported from the incident, however, investigations are ongoing to help us establish what caused the fire, we therefore call on eye witnesses to help with the ongoing investigations to avert future loss of properties,” he said.

Masaba subsequently called on the county government to station a fire unit at the Kongowea market to facilitate quick response whenever fire breaks out at the market.

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