Nairobi gas blast kills three, injures 300

A huge gas blast in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, has killed at least three people and injured nearly 300.

A lorry carrying gas exploded in Embakasi district at about 23:30 (20:30 GMT), “igniting a huge ball of fire”, a government spokesperson said.

Housing, businesses and cars were damaged, with video showing a huge blaze raging close to blocks of flats.

Earlier, the government had said the blast happened at a gas plant. The cause is still being established.

Embakasi police chief Wesley Kimeto said a child was among those who died in the explosion, adding that the death toll could rise.

The Kenya Red Cross said it had taken 271 people to hospital and treated 27 others on site.

The fireball from the blast had “spread widely”, according to Isaac Mwaura Mwaura, the government spokesman, and a flying gas cylinder had hit a garments and textiles warehouse, burning it down.

“The inferno further damaged several vehicles and commercial properties, including many small and medium sized businesses,” he said in a statement.

“Sadly, residential houses in the neighbourhood also caught fire, with a good number of residents still inside, as it was late at night.”

Witnesses told local media they had felt tremors immediately after the blast.

Many of the injured are said to have inhalation injuries and they include at least 25 children, the Standard newspaper reports.

One of those hurt, Boniface Sifuna, described what had happened to Reuters news agency: “I got burnt by an exploding gas canister as I was trying to escape,” he said.

“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, who lives across the street from where the blast happened, told the AFP news agency 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.”

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