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Fire drill in Nairobi’s CBD causes panic

A fire drill at Uchumi House Thursday morning caused panic among Nairobians with many mistaking the activity for a real fire.

A police helicopter which hovered around the city centre caused more fear with curious members of the public milling around the area to catch a glimpse of the ‘fire victims’.

Tenants and those working at Uchumi House were caught unawares with some women losing their shoes as they escaped from the ‘burning building’.

Members of the public watch the fire drill at Uchumi House in Nairobi which many of them mistook for an actual fire incident. PHOTO | NAIROBI NEWS

Emergency response teams including police officers with sniffer dogs, anti-terrorism police unit officers, several fire engines from the Nairobi City County government and ambulances were all on the scene.

Several ‘victims’ of the fire who were rescued were ‘taken to hospital’ using the ambulances while others were airlifted using the police chopper.


However, some working in the building were not amused after learning it was just a fire drill.

“We need to go back to work, you are wasting our time,” a visibly agitated man was seen telling an officer from the National Disaster Operations Centre (NDOC).

According to NDOC acting director Pius Mwachi who was leading the drill, the emergency team scored a “95 per cent” for their quick response to the disaster.

Security personnel keep guard during the fire drill at Uchumi House Nairobi. PHOTO | NAIROBI NEWS

“It took only 30 minutes for all of them to respond to the disaster and which is very impressive,” he said while addressing the media at the scene.

He however lamented that a large number of people had gathered at the scene as it is characteristic of Kenyans adding that was wrong.

“In other countries, people run away from a disaster scene but we do the opposite, it is not right,” he said,” even as police with sniffer dogs helped control the crowd.