"The people went to scoop up the oil, then something lit the fire, maybe someone dropped a cigarette," Kenya Red Cross spokesman Titus Mung'ou told Reuters of the disaster. "More than 50 people have died." Dozens more sustained life-threatening burns in the explosion which occurred near Jolly Farm on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway at about 7.30 pm on Saturday. Two hours after the fire started there had not been an effort to put it out and a Sunday Nation writer could still see bodies burning away from a distance of about 50 metres.
"My two sons ran home, picked some jerrycans and ran to get some petrol. I tried to stop them but they did not listen, they told me everyone is going there for the free fuel," said one distraught woman, who would not give her name. "Now I cannot trace them," she said, sobbing as she looked at the skull and bones of one corpse nearby.
An eye witness told the Sunday Nation that Officers from a nearby GSU camp were the first to arrive at the scene after the tanker crashed. According to the witness, the Officers began demanding a fee from those who wished to scoop petrol spilling from the tanker. “I heard someone saying that they were going to avenge the fee by starting a fire and left the scene fearing for my life,” the eyewitness said. “Moments later, I heard the explosion.” In the confusion a PSV bus driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed. It is suspected that some of those who burnt were passengers on the bus.
Oh my God, what a very sad week for Kenya! We had the Nakumatt Downtown fire blaze on Wednesday in which at least 48 people died according to some reports, and now we have this 'accident' in Molo where another 113 or more lives have been lost.
My prayers go to all the family and friends of those who lost their lives in these two extremely tragic events.
Let's now all work urgently on disaster preparedness. This week was really too much to bear. Kenyans are angry. Kenyans are shocked. Kenyans are too desperate. Where are our brains? Why don't we ever learn from previous disasters? What are our lives really worth? My fellow blogger Mama has some interesting thoughts on what is wrong with us Kenyans.
P.S.: Relatives of missing persons can call +254 722 300701 or contact Red Cross officials on the ground on +254 720 460438 and +254 720 430455.