Property worth thousands was destroyed on Wednesday morning after fire gutted down business premises in Makutano town West Pokot County. The fire which is suspected to have been caused by an electric fault, reduced stalls to ashes as businessmen and women tried to salvage their property.
Some of the business people narrowly evaded death after being awakened by the morning smoke that choked them inside their houses. The fire which started at 8.00am razed down a food kiosk, bars, salons, and clothes shops.
One of the victims Mrs Caroline Nasike who had a salon said she had lost more than Kshs. 17,000 after her salon equipment were destroyed.
“I arrived at my workstation only to find the raging fire spreading. I couldn’t salvage anything and everything in there including the business license have been reduced to ashes,” she said.
It took the intervention of locals to help put off the fire, and they blamed the County government for delayed efforts to address the issue.
Some of the locals had to fetch water using buckets to help put off the blaze before it could spread to the nearest buildings.
Marcos Bera faulted the County government for buying a fire truck that isn’t operational and said fire incidences have been experienced in the County before but the County government hasn’t intervened.
He said they managed to break some of the shop doors to save some of the people who were still sleeping. “Many things have been destroyed, the business people have lost thousands of property, right now they don’t know where they will earn their living,” he said.
Philip Lolem said the County government has been slow to respond and asked the Governor to sack county officers who have failed to execute their mandate.
“We tried to put it off before it could spread to other buildings, the County government should chip in and compensate us because they have failed to put off the fire,” he said.
Police commander Mathews Kuto who was at the scene said they are conducting an investigation to establish the cause of the inferno.
West Pokot County has a firefighting team but it’s not operational and the fire prevailed for four hours. It took the intervention of the firefighting crew from Trans Nzoia, who were able to seize control of the situation.