Kitui County Fire Tragedy: Eye Witness Account

Sunday 25 February, Kitui

By Brian Peter

The burnt shell of a building that housed five county ministries and three major offices in Kitui County. |PHOTO BY BRIAN PETER| KITUI NEWSPAPER|

Five ministries and three key offices in Kitui County have lost vital documents and property worth millions after a fire razed down their offices last night.

According to a key witness account by a night watchman in a nearby premises, the inferno broke out earlier in the night, as the huge flames appeared at around 11 pm last night.

The guard, who sought anonymity disclosed that fuses on a transormer inside the guard’s compound started sparking around 8 pm and proceeded till around 10.30 pm.

Pictures of the defunct transformer showing the blown-out fuses

He says that he got worried, switched off the main switch and tried to call for technical assistance from the establishment’s electrician; who happened to be away but advised him to keep the main switch off till he came.

“It is around 11 pm when I saw great flames leap out of the left wing of the second floor, barely 15 minutes after the transformer fuse blew out,” the watchman told our reporter in an exclusive interview.

The left wing of the former Tourist Hotel building, now leased to the County government, hosts the County Ministry Of Tourism and Natural Resources offices.

The watchman claims that the inferno awoke residents from the neighborhood, most of them county staff, who rushed to the scene. The gates were locked, and a police cruiser arrived at the scene almost immediately; but they all watched helplessly as the fire spread uncontrolled to the lower floors of the building. There was no response from county firefighters, and the police warded off any attempts by the public to access the building and fight the fire, he claims.

According to the watchman, the staff kept making frantic calls to the ministers and top county officials, but a Tana Athi water bowser only showed up at the scene in the wee hours of the morning. By then the fire had already died out, after consuming the entire three-storey building. According to his account, the fire had receaded by 1am and the disgrunted staff left back to their houses.

This incident has thrown the entire Savani and Site Estates into a black-out up to the time of going press.

The offices razed to the ground are:

County Ministries of:

1.Adminstration and Coordination of County Affairs

2.Basic Education, Training and Skills Development

3.Tourism and Natural Resources

4. Environment, Energy and Mineral Resources

5.Culture, Youth, Sports and Social Services

6. County Human Resource Manager

7. Office of the County Secretary

8. County Payroll Manager.

Neither the governor nor Deputy Governor had visited the site or issued a statement on the incident by the time of going to press. The Governor’s Press also arrived at the scene at 2 pm today to take photos and followed to post a story on the incident in whatsapp forums hours later. The office of the Governor has remained inaccessible via phone calls since the incident took place.

Follow Kitui Newspaper for more accurate, timely and unbiased updates across our county and beyond.

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