September 18, 2020

At least 61 Kenyans dead after pipeline explosion

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A leaking gasoline pipeline in Kenya’s capital exploded on Monday, turning part of a slum into an inferno in which at least 61 people were killed and more than 100 hurt.

Flames leapt out from the pipeline in a radius of some 300 yards (meters), setting shacks ablaze and incinerating scores of people, leaving charred bodies and blacked bones in the charred homes. Some burned bodies floated in a nearby river filled with sewage. Homes had been built right up to the pipeline, the residents said.

“I’ve lost count of the number of bodies,” said Wilfred Mbithi, the policeman in charge of operations in Nairobi as he stood at the scene. “Many had dived into the river trying to put out their flames.”

Provincial Commissioner Njoroge Ndirangu said at least 61 bodies have been recovered so far, but said the death toll from the blast will rise.

Nearby, a young woman clawed through smoldering timbers, screaming in grief. Others wandered by the remains of the inferno, frantically dialing phone numbers that didn’t go through or staring around in disbelief.

Fires still smoldered among the twisted wreckage of corrugated iron sheets and scattered possessions. Visibility was poor because of rain and smoke.

 

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