Families left homeless after houses guttered down in Athi River

Children, women to spend nights in cold following the fire incident

In Summary

•100 residents left homeless after fire gutters down houses in Athi River.

•Athi River subcounty police commander Anderson Njagi said there were neither injuries nor casualties during the incident.

Residents stare at what used to be their houses after they were burnt down at Bondeni slum in Athi River, Machakos County on Saturday, July 31.
Residents stare at what used to be their houses after they were burnt down at Bondeni slum in Athi River, Machakos County on Saturday, July 31.
Image: GEORGE OWITI

More than 100 residents will spend their night in cold after their houses were razed down by razing fire in Athi River, Machakos County.

The victims lost all their households to the fire that broke out minutes past 12.00 am at Bondeni slum on Friday. The iron-sheets shanties were burnt to the ground. The houses’ monthly rent ranges from Sh1,600 to 2,500.

Athi River sub county police commander Anderson Njagi said there were neither injuries nor casualties during the incident.

Njagi said the inferno was put out by members of the public who responded to the victims’ outcry when it broke out.

“There was reported fire outbreak at Bondeni slum in Athi River in wee hours of Friday morning, there were neither casualties nor injuries though,” Njagi told the Star on the phone.

Residents stare at what used to be their houses after they were burnt down at Bondeni slum in Athi River, Machakos County on Saturday, July 31.
Residents stare at what used to be their houses after they were burnt down at Bondeni slum in Athi River, Machakos County on Saturday, July 31.
Image: GEORGE OWITI

He said the course of inferno was not immediately established but police had launched investigations on the incident.

Several victims who spoke to the Star said they lost all their belongings ranging from personal documents, food, clothing, books, electronics, bedding, furniture and utensils.

“I have lost everything, only left with a baby,” Beatrice Adisa said holding her months old baby in her arms.

Adisa’s husband was at work in a local cement manufacturing company approximately 800 metres from the scene of incident for night shift.

Mavoko sub county Maendeleo Ya Wanawake Organization chairlady Angeline Mutethia said all the victims lost their belonging hence needed immediate assistance from the government, humanitarian organizations, local leaders and well-wishers.

“We call on the government and well-wishers intervention by providing basic necessities like food, blankets, clothes, books, mattresses, soaps, utensils, among others,” mutethia said.

Mutethia said children might miss reporting to school on Monday since they had lost uniforms, books, shoes and homes to operate from.

She said residents took long to contain the fire after efforts to have fire extinguishers’ services were futile.

Residents stare at what used to be their houses after they were burnt down at Bondeni slum in Athi River, Machakos County on Saturday, July 31.
Residents stare at what used to be their houses after they were burnt down at Bondeni slum in Athi River, Machakos County on Saturday, July 31.
Image: GEORGE OWITI

“Machakos county government should have fire engines. Residents struggled to contain the fire using water after we were told that the Machakos County government’s fire engine has stalled due to mechanical problem,” Mutethia said.

Muthethia added, “They should repair the vehicle, it’s a challenge to residents. Women and children need to be supported. We tried reaching out to Kajiado County fire brigade but there was no response.

The houses caretaker Daniel Munyau said over 20 shanties were brought down during the inferno. Each household had at least five people, some family members while others lived together as friends in the single rooms.

Munyau said several victims salvaged some of their households only to be stolen during the melee due to the confusion in the dark.

“Some had their salvaged property looted by neighbors, it’s a difficult situation,” Munyau said.

Residents stare at what used to be their houses after they were burnt down at Bondeni slum in Athi River, Machakos County on Saturday, July 31.
Residents stare at what used to be their houses after they were burnt down at Bondeni slum in Athi River, Machakos County on Saturday, July 31.
Image: GEORGE OWITI