Traders lose thousands in Grogan market blaze

Traders and well-wishers, help salvage properties left after fire razed down Grogon market in Nairobi. (Photo David Njaaga/Standard)

Traders in the Grogan Road economic hub Sunday lost goods worth hundreds of thousands of shillings when an early morning fire razed through hundreds of business premises.

The inferno, which was suspected to be the result of an electrical fault, took many hours to contain and the business owners could only watch as their belongings were reduced to ashes.

The fire consumed a large portion of the goods – mostly clothes and food – that the traders had stored for the night. Many of them said they had taken loans to fund their businesses and were now staring at a bleak future.

Sammy Mungai, who arrived at the scene shortly after receiving the news, said the fire was the greatest setback to ever hit his three-year business and he was uncertain about how he would move past it.

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“I took a loan from a micro-finance company to set up this business, which was already slow due to the electioneering period. It is killing me to even imagine how many years it will take me to recover from this loss,” said Mr Mungai.

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The trader, who had six bales of second-hand clothes, said the damage caused by the fire would take him several years to recover, if ever.

“I only hope my lender agrees to extend my resettlement schedule. It will be a double tragedy if they decide to blacklist me,” he added.

Area OCPD Boniface Thuku said the cause of the fire was still unknown but investigations were underway. He also said the exact extent of the loss was yet to be confirmed.

Resume activity

It was not clear how long it would take for activity to resume at the market as some parts were still on fire at around midday.

However, no casualties were reported from the incident.

City market fires are not rare; most of the incidents are reported at the Gikomba market.

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Starehe Member of Parliament aspirant James Kanyi, who is better known as musician Jaguar, and Ngara MCA Chege Mwaura showed up at the scene and asked for thorough investigations into the cause of the fire.

They also urged the county government to put in place proper mechanisms to improve the area.

They said there was need to upgrade the old structures and make the area less congested and more accessible.

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