•Security officers swiftly rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area as the fuel smell sent panic amongst the residents in the populated estate.
•County commissioner Hussein Alasso Hussein said investigations have been launched to establish the owner of the house.
A body has been retrieved beneath the Kenya Pipeline Company's line in Kisumu as police busted a fuel siphoning racket following a tip-off from members of the public.
The body was discovered when the KPC emergency team were digging to establish the source of fuel siphoning for repair on Tuesday.
County police commander Alphonse Wambua confirmed the incident and said they are probing the matter.
Reports emerge that the deceased could have suffocated while he was undertaking illegal connection on the KPC line.
The fuel siphon bust comes after boda boda operators in the Maua area of Lolwe estate on Monday evening noticed an oil spillage in the nearby stream.
They managed to trace the spillage into the house under construction.
Security officers swiftly rushed to the scene and cordoned off the area as the fuel smell sent panic amongst the residents in the populated estate.
The officers who were joined by the Kenya Pipeline Company’s emergency team kept strict watch at the scene at night to prevent any danger.
County commissioner Hussein Alasso Hussein said investigations have been launched to establish the owner of the house.
“The security team are working very closely with the KPC team to ensure that the culprits of this dreadful act are arrested and charged,” Hussein said.
However, the suspects are still at large.
Inside the house, police discovered beddings used by those siphoning fuel in the area.
“We cannot at the moment say exactly what happened but the fact of the matter is that there is a leakage along the pipeline. We have come here to secure the place and initiate investigations,” he said.
The preliminary investigations indicate that the suspect had connected a pipe from the main KPC Nakuru-Kisumu line to an underground tank in the compound.
The tank which was disguised as a septic tank started leaking, spilling the oil into a nearby stream.
“We have not found the suspects or the owners of the building but our officers are trailing them. We can assure you that they will soon be apprehended,” he said.
The commissioner revealed that the incident was the third case on the line over the last year.
He appealed to members of the public to stay clear of the spillage site to enable Kenya Pipeline to undertake the repairs.
“Residents should always keep off the crime scene as investigations continue,” he said.
Hussein assured that KPC has made plans to evacuate the fuel in the septic tank and take necessary measures to seal the leakage.
Last year in March, KPC successfully contained a fuel leakage along the Sinendet-Kisumu pipeline which occurred in the Kanyamedha area, Kisumu County.
The incident saw police cordon off the Kondele-Airport bypass in a bid to deter residents from collecting the spilt fuel.
Firefighters similarly used firefighting foam in a bid to neutralise the effect of the spillage.
The dispatched KPC Emergency Response Team and emergency procedures initiated the containment and recovery of hydrocarbons by reticulation of the product back to pump station (PS) 28 in Kisumu to prevent it from spreading further.
The fuel distributor, however, clarified that the spillage has not in any way affected the supply of petroleum products in the area.
“We have sufficient stocks for all the grades across our depots countrywide,” the company said.
In 2018, the Company’s emergency repaired its Sinendet-Kisumu line following a pipeline leak which caused an oil spillage in Kisumu’s Kibos area.
KPC managing director Joe Sand said the leak on the line’s KM 114 which serves western Kenya and eastern Africa region was occasioned by siphoning of fuel by a rogue trader.
The company’s safety and environment teams cleaned up to restore the environment.
“As per our company procedures, our environment, health and safety experts have already embarked on an environmental bioremediation exercise to ensure that the site is taken back to its original status,” Sang said.
KPC in collaboration Nema ensured that the process was undertaken professionally.