Traders at Jua Kali in Ruiru, Kiambu County are counting huge losses after a fire burnt down their premises destroying property worth millions on Friday night.
Even as the cause of the late-night fire which affected at least 80 stores is yet to be established, affected traders said they lost motor vehicle spare parts worth millions of shillings.
Kiambu firefighters and other rescuers are reported to have arrived at the scene a few minutes after the fire broke out but unsuccessfully extinguished the fast-spreading fire that saw various forms of businesses destroyed.
For John Ng’ang’a, the fierce fire left him hopeless as he could not salvage anything from his store that was filled with spare parts.
In a statement, Ng’ang’a decried that he had known the store as his workstation for several years now and with all his stock being burnt into ashes, the incident has plunged him into poverty.
The hysterical Ng’ang’a who could not cope with the unbearable loss said the area had been previously hit by fire although the loss was a bit manageable.
"My stall was fully stocked with at least Ksh10 million worth of spare parts. I don’t know where to begin from here since this is where I have been earning my daily bread,” Ng’ang’a decried.
He took issue with local leaders for neglecting the informal traders whenever they were hit by such tragedies but urged the government to promptly intervene to help them rebuild and restock their enterprises.
Margaret Wangui who has been operating a hotel in the area since 2011 said all her appliances including food stock, gasses, and kitchen wares among other items were all brought down by the raging fire.
Wangui insisted that while the cause of the fire remained unknown, the presence of cooking gases in the premises that has several hotels may have facilitated its prevalence.
While urging the government to intervene, Wangui explained that such incidents have been happening in the past but little has been done by the relevant agencies to avert more of such occurrences.
“We cannot tell, at least for now, what caused the fire but we are in deep pain that all of us here have lost everything,” Wangui stated.
Speaking at the scene, Joseph Njuguna Kinuthia, the trader’s chairman stated that at least Ksh100 million worth of property had been destroyed by the fire.
To avert further incidents or reduce losses in future, Njuguna urged the government to modernize the premises by building or allowing them to put up storey buildings.
"The government should help us put up new stalls. If possible, storey stalls will reduce the number of losses that one may incur in case of a fire outbreak. We cannot afford to watch such incidents happening in future and our plea is, let the government come in and show us the way,” Njuguna stated.