At least two people have died in a gas explosion in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi on Thursday evening.
Over 200 people sustained injuries in the huge explosion in the East African country, according to local officials.
Local media reported that the blaze started when a truck carrying gas blew up in Nairobi’s Embakasi district at about 11:30 p.m. local time.
The blast ignited “a huge ball of fire that spread widely,” government spokesperson Isaac Maigua Mwaura said in a social media post.
He said that the fire also destroyed residential buildings, vehicles and businesses.
“The Kenyan government sends it’s most sincere condolences to the families of the departed souls”, Mwaura said.
One of the injured, Boniface Sifuna, told Reuters that “I got burnt by an exploding gas canister as I was trying to escape.”
“It exploded right in front of me and the impact knocked me down and the flames engulfed me. I am lucky that I was strong enough to get away.”
James Ngoge, another resident who witnessed the blast was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying that he was in his house at the time and “heard a huge explosion”.
“It felt like it was going to collapse. At first, we didn’t even know what was happening, it was like an earthquake.
“I have a business on the road that was completely destroyed.”
The Kenya Red Cross said it had evacuated 271 people to hospitals around Nairobi and was “tirelessly battling the flames” alongside other agencies.
A command center has been set up at the scene to coordinate rescue operations and other intervention efforts, spokesperson Mwaura said, adding the scene was now secured.
“Kenyans are hereby advised to keep off the cordoned area in order to allow the rescue mission to be carried out (with) minimal disruptions,” he said.