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"Nairobi Explosion: Gas Blast Kills Three, Injures Nearly 300"
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The inferno began around 11:30 p.m. on Thursday in the Mradi area of the Nairobi neighborhood of Embakasi.

Video footage showed a large blaze near residential buildings. The area has been sealed off, and an investigation is underway to determine the cause. At least one person, a guard at the site, has been arrested.

According to Embakasi police chief Wesley Kimeto, there were fatalities, including a child, with the death toll possibly rising. About 271 people were hospitalized, including 25 children, with at least 39 requiring treatment at other facilities for critical injuries. An additional 27 individuals were treated at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries.

Initially, authorities reported the blast occurred at a gas plant during cylinder refilling, but they later clarified that a truck exploded in a parking yard. The blast caused a fireball that spread widely, with a gas cylinder hitting a warehouse, resulting in its destruction. Several vehicles and commercial properties, including small and medium-sized businesses, were also damaged.

Some residential houses caught fire, with residents possibly still inside. The fire has been contained, and a search and rescue operation is ongoing to locate any missing individuals. The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) stated that the gas plant was illegal, having rejected three construction permit applications for safety reasons and due to the high population density in the area. EPRA expressed uncertainty about how the facility was still operating.

Isaac Mwaura, a government spokesperson, visited the site and urged the company owners to compensate the victims and take responsibility for the explosion. He criticized risking lives for profit and cited weak enforcement institutions and corruption as contributing factors. Witnesses reported about 10 trucks completely burned inside the compound, with one vehicle landing on a nearby block of flats, causing partial damage.

Objects, including gas cylinders and a shipping container, were ejected into the air by the explosion. Survivors described harrowing experiences, with injuries and loss of life. The government set up a command center to coordinate rescue efforts and advised people to stay away from the affected area to avoid disrupting the rescue mission.

Piers Potter

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