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Over 100 burnt to death in Kenya petrol fire

Nairobi, September 12, 2011

More than 100 people were burnt to death after a petrol fire broke out in a densely populated slum in the Nigerian capital Nairobi, local media said on Monday.

Local television channels aired images of smouldering skeletons as the fire raged through the slum. Badly burnt slum dwellers staggered in a daze, skin peeling off their faces and arms.

Police said at least 61 bodies have been recovered so far, however the Kenyan media put the toll higher, saying more than 100 people were burnt to death and a similar number were taken to hospital in one of the worst fire disasters in the east African country.

Police said a large number of people had perished and it was proving difficult to establish the exact figure because some charred remains were found huddled in groups.

Residents said petrol spilled from a fuel depot owned by the Kenya Pipeline Company and ran into a sewage dyke that runs under the slum, which is known as Sinai. The petrol ignited, causing an inferno that left charred corpses and burnt skeletons.

'We have confirmed 61 dead so far, but we are retrieving more,' deputy police spokesman Charles Owino told Reuters.

Owino said the fire was ignited by a cigarette butt that was tossed onto the dyke, which opens into a small river. 

Authorities said they were battling the fire before completing the count on the death toll in an area that police estimated to be just over an acre in size.

 Local television channels aired images of smouldering skeletons as the fire raged through the slum covering an area police said was about one acre. Children in school uniform ran in all directions, crying.

Badly burnt slum dwellers staggered in a daze, skin peeling off their faces and arms. Prime Minister Raila Odinga visited the scene of the fire and promised help for the victims of the fire.-Reuters




Tags: Kenya | petrol | Fire | Tanker | cigarette | slum | ignite |

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