Traders at the Grogon market in Machakos town were left in anguish after a fire broke out causing huge losses with one person injured.
Helpless businessmen and women were trying to save their goods while others were trying to stop the fire before it spread out further.
There is a poor road network in the area and members of the public were all over so the fire engines and ambulances were finding it difficult to access the burning areas and help the people.
The Machakos Jua kali Association Chairman Mumo Kilonzo said he was there when the fire started and it is possible it was caused by an electric fault and only one person was injured.
He added that the fire, that affected more than 500 traders, spread fast because there were a lot of mattresses and paint that fueled it.
“There are around 500 traders whose businesses have been affected, most of them had jua kali business, beds, sofa sets, wardrobes, and mattresses in their hardware,” said Mumo.
Mutunga Mutiso one of the carpenters and hardware owners said they made frantic calls to the fire brigade for help since the fire was spreading fast and they risked losing goods worth a lot of money but nothing was salvaged because the fire fighters didn’t respond fast enough.
“An electric fault could have been the cause and I was the first one to call the fire brigade but they took time to answer the call and by the time they arrived the fire had destroyed most of the property,” said Mutiso.
He said he lost goods worth Sh 1.8 million since he had a showroom full of furniture and paint. Mutiso said it was a big loss and urged the county government to help them restore their livelihoods.
On his part, Lucas Mwove who is the Public Health Officer in Machakos County said the County government has set aside funds to take care of the losses
“I assure you we will utilize our emergency fund for settling the affected people who have lost property and their livelihood. We have an emergency kit we will assess the situation and compensate the people affected,” said Mwove.
He added that the people took time to call them because they assumed they would manage to stop the fire on their own.
“They took too long to call the fire brigade because they thought it was a small fire only to go beyond their control,” explained Mwove.
Mwove appealed to the public to be calm and stop the speculation and blame game because their team did the best and was capable of stopping the fire.