- At least 13 people have perished and 30 more still missing as an operation to retrieve the remains of people trapped in the burnt down Nakumatt supermarket continues.
The supermarket was gutted by fire on Wednesday afternoon. Reports said fire fighters battled to control the inferno which is reported to have been fuelled by gas.
"Thick smoke billowed from the buildings and quickly spread to most of Kimathi and Kenyatta Avenue Streets," eye witnesses said.
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.
On Thursday night, the Kenya Red Cross reported that 40 people, who were either staff of the supermarket or shoppers, were missing. The emergency relief organisation had erected a tent to help distraught relatives reporting their missing relatives.
"We have registered 40 cases of missing people. Their relatives have been to our tent and we are continuing to counsel them," the secretary general of the Red Cross, Abbas Gullet, told the media.
Most reports suspect the fire was a result of negligence and lack of proper facilities to avoid such disasters.
However, reports have said that the busy 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," the management is reported to have said.
A team from the Red Cross, First Responder - a private firm - and the police are heading the recovery process are reported to be still on the site in search for missing people in the rubble.
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