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Fire razes section of Toi Market in Nairobi

Hundreds of traders are counting losses after a fire razed down stalls at the popular Toi market in Kibera, about seven kilometres from Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD), on June 11, 2023.

The fire is reported to have started at about 2am and was still on as at 6am, reducing to ashes property worth millions of shillings.

By early morning the market could be seen smoldering after being reduced to ashes.

Clouds of black smoke could also be seen billowing from make-shift stalls that were used to store bales of apparel overnight.

The city county government sent fire engines to the scene and by 5am, they were still battling the inferno that had spread far and wide.

Several businesspeople suffered severe cuts and burns in the earlier morning as they rushed to try and salvage what was left of their businesses.

Many could be seen standing next to where their stalls were located, probably hoping they could find a thing or two they can salvage.

The cause of fire was not immediately established but the traders and locals suspect it could have been as a result of an electric fault.

The open-air market, famous for used clothes, fresh produce, artefacts and toys, is located on the outskirts of Kibera slum, one of the biggest informal settlements in Africa.

The market with 3,500 stalls and more than 5,000 small-scale traders sits on a four-acre plot on Suna Road and there have been plans by the Nairobi City County government to erect modern houses on the parcel.

The meeting place for thousands of buyers and sellers has suffered the stinging pain of fire incidents since 2014.

For investors here, battling flames has become an annual nightmare that consumes their investments and leaves them nursing severe burns of losses.

The informal market has been rocked by infernos in the past.

Among them include one on November 2014, June 2015, February 2016, May 2017, and January 2018.

On March 2019 again saw traders incur losses after a fire broke out sparking speculations by traders and the local community that there was a plot by some land grabbers to elbow them out of the market.

The 2014 fire destroyed a large section of the market, rendering hundreds of traders jobless.

Investigations by the police established that the fire started in one of the stalls before spreading to others.

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