BREAKING NEWS: Nairobi, Kenya: Over 100 Dead In Fuel Pipeline Blast

12 Sep

BREAKING NEWS: LATEST NEWS UPDATE:

At least 61 people have burnt to death after a petrol pipeline exploded in Kenya, it has been reported.

Dozens Killed In Kenyan Pipeline Explosion

The blast happened as people were trying to scoop up fuel that had spilled from a nearby tank in a densely populated slum in the capital, Nairobi.

Children at a nearby school are believed to be among the victims.

Local television reports showed horrific images of smouldering bodies and badly burnt victims trying to flee as the fire raged through the area.

Witnesses said firefighters scrambled across the corrugated rooftops of burning shacks to pour foam over the flames.

Ambulances also rushed to the scene and ferried dozens of wounded to nearby hospitals.

Deputy police spokesman Charles Owino said the scene is “really bad”.

“There is a large number of people burnt to death,” he said.

“There are many bodies, we are yet to count them.”

Police said they were continuing to search through the charred debris for people feared missing.

Mr Owino said the fire started after a fuel tank at a depot spilled petrol into an open sewer.

Resident Joseph Mwego told AFP how he witnessed the horror unfold.

“There had been a leak in the fuel pipeline earlier, and people were going to collect the fuel that was coming out,” he said.

“Then there was a loud bang, a big explosion, and smoke and fire burst up high.”

Fuel leaks and oil tanker accidents in Africa often draw huge crowds scrambling to scoop fuel, resulting in many deaths due to accidental fires.

In 2009, 122 people were killed after a fire erupted while they were drawing fuel from an overturned tanker in western Kenya.

 

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A person injured in a gasoline pipeline incident is brought to Kenyatta National Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. A local official says at least 61 bodies have been recovered after an explosion of a gasoline pipeline running through a slum in Kenya's capital. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A leaking gasoline pipeline in Kenya’s capital exploded on Monday, turning part of a slum into an inferno in which at least 61 people were killed and more than 100 hurt.

Flames leapt out from the pipeline in a radius of some 300 yards (meters), setting shacks ablaze and incinerating scores of people, leaving charred bodies and blacked bones in the charred homes. Some burned bodies floated in a nearby river filled with sewage. Homes had been built right up to the pipeline, the residents said.

“I’ve lost count of the number of bodies,” said Wilfred Mbithi, the policeman in charge of operations in Nairobi as he stood at the scene. “Many had dived into the river trying to put out their flames.”

Provincial Commissioner Njoroge Ndirangu said at least 61 bodies have been recovered so far, but said the death toll from the blast will rise.

Nearby, a young woman clawed through smoldering timbers, screaming in grief. Others wandered by the remains of the inferno, frantically dialing phone numbers that didn’t go through or staring around in disbelief.

Fires still smoldered among the twisted wreckage of corrugated iron sheets and scattered possessions. Visibility was poor because of rain and smoke.

Resident Joseph Mwangi, 34, said he was feeding his cow when people went running past him, calling out that there was a leak in the pipeline. He said others started drawing fuel and that he was going to go and get a bucket and get fuel too when he heard an explosion around 9 a.m. By then fuel had leaked into the river and parts of the river had also caught fire. People in flames were jumping into the fiery, stinking mess, he said.

Mwangi was still looking for his 6-year-old daughter.

At least 112 burn victims have arrived so far at Kenyatta National Hospital and they urgently need blood donors and blankets, said Richard Lisiyampe, the head of the hospital. Many children were among the victims. Most had burns covering more than a third of their bodies, he said. Some were unrecognizable, said St. John’s Ambulance Service spokesman Fred Majiwa.

In 2009, at least 120 people were killed when they were trying to scoop fuel spilled from a crashed petrol tanker in Kenya. The cause of Monday’s explosion was still unclear.

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Associated Press writer Malkhadir M. Muhumed contributed to this report.

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More than 100 people have been killed in a fire at a fuel pipeline in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi

World, African, and local news, including business and sports coverage, editorials, and blogs.

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“We are putting the number of dead at over 100, we are waiting for body bags to put the victims into,” said Thomas Atuti, area police commander, told AFP.

“The scene is bad, there is a large number of people burnt to death,” deputy police spokesman Charles Owino was reported as saying.

“There are many bodies, we are yet to count them.”

A large number of people were trying to scoop up petrol that had spilled from a nearby tank when the fuel caught fire.

“There had been a leak in the fuel pipeline earlier, and people were going to collect the fuel that was coming out,” said Joseph Mwego, a resident.

“Then there was a loud bang, a big explosion, and smoke and fire burst up high.”

Many residents were caught up in the blaze, and an AFP reporter at the scene counted scores of charred bodies around the fire.

“People were trying to scoop fuel from the pipeline,” a Red Cross official told AFP by telephone, adding that the organisation had sent a team to the scene of the fire.

Firefighters have sprayed chemical foam to try to contain the fire, while both police and soldiers have cordoned off the area.

Fuel leaks and oil tanker accidents in Africa often draw huge crowds scrambling to scoop fuel, resulting in many deaths due to accidental fires.

In 2009, 122 people were killed after a fire erupted while they were drawing fuel from an overturned tanker in western Kenya.

NEWS UPDATE:

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — At least 40 people were killed after a gasoline pipeline running through a slum in Kenya’s capital exploded on Monday, according to a count by an Associated Press reporter. An official said more than 80 people were hospitalized.

The AP reporter saw at least 40 burned bodies scattered throughout the remains of burning shacks for nearly 1,000 feet (300 meters) around the site of the explosion. Some were also floating in a nearby river filled with sewage. Other residents said they had jumped into the river after catching fire. Homes were built right up to the pipeline, the residents said.

The pipeline runs through the heavily populated slum of Embakasi between the city center and the airport.

The total number of people killed and the cause of the explosion remain unclear. Police said they were still counting bodies. Visibility was poor because of rain and smoke. Fires still smoldered among the twisted wreckage of corrugated iron sheets and scattered possessions.

St. John’s Ambulance Service has taken more than 80 people to hospitals around Nairobi, said spokesman Fred Majiwa. He said many victims are burned beyond recognition.

Police officers were at the scene but spokesman Eric Kiraithe said he had not yet received a report from them.

In 2009, at least 120 people were killed when they were trying to scoop fuel spilled from a crashed petrol tanker in Kenya

Keywords:  kenya, nairobi, fire, fuel pipeline

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