Some business owners in Kakamega town had a rough night yesterday as they helplessly watched fire raze their businesses. The fire broke out between 1100hrs and midnight opposite the exit of the newly constructed Kakamega main bus stage, near the Shell Petrol station. Several businesses including a hotel, phone shop, a garage, a Jua Kali shed and a second-hand clothes store were reduced to ashes.
Witnesses say the fire could have been contained earlier had the Kakamega town fire engine arrived on time. Other than turning up late, residents were dumbfounded when the fire engine ran out of water almost immediately. This necessitated a call up of fire engines stationed in Mumias, 34 km away, and West Kenya, 16 km away. Understandably the two fire engines arrived a little too late.
Some business owners could not hold back tears upon witnessing their sources of livelihood reduced to ashes. A businesswoman who had taken up a loan to finance her second-hand clothes business could not contain herself and fainted when she saw nothing left of her stock. She was however resuscitated by members of the public on the scene.
This morning a few stoic business owners were already clearing debris from the aftermath in preparation to make a fresh start.
Witnesses say the fire could have started from the kitchen of a hotel. However, police and county officials are yet to conclude investigations and issue a conclusive report over the same.