No signs of terror in Kenyan airport fire

2013-08-07 08:36
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

Kenyan airport fire

A massive fire broke out at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Wednesday. See all the pictures.

Nairobi - A massive fire engulfed the arrivals hall at Kenya's main international airport early Wednesday, forcing East Africa's largest airport to close and the rerouting of all inbound flights.

Dark black smoke that shot skyward was visible across much of Nairobi as emergency teams battled the blaze. Stranded passengers stood on sidewalks outside the airport with their luggage in hand.

"It was huge, the smoke billowing, and it didn't seem to be stopping," said Barry Fisher, who had hoped to fly to Ethiopia on Wednesday morning.

Associated Press reporters at the scene said the fire had gutted the international arrivals hall, where passengers pass through immigration and retrieve their luggage. The Kenya Airports Authority said the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has been closed until further notice so that emergency teams could battle the fire.

While there were no immediate signs that terrorism played any role in the fire, Kenya's anti-terror police boss, Boniface Mwaniki, told The Associated Press that he wanted to wait for the fire to be put out so that he could inspect the scene before making any judgment.

Michael Kamau, the cabinet secretary for transport and infrastructure, said the fire began at 05:00 in the immigration section of the arrivals hall. He said no injuries had been reported. Inbound flights were diverted to the coastal city of Mombasa, he said.

As in many countries in East Africa, public sector services like police and fire units are hobbled by small budgets and outdated or no equipment. A British passenger, Martyn Collbeck, said he was surprised that the airport wasn't shut down sooner so that emergency vehicles could respond.

"When I arrived there were one or two fire engines parked outside the international arrivals. It spread very fast," said Collbeck, who had been scheduled to fly back to London on an early morning KLM flight. "There were a couple of explosions which I think were a couple of gas canisters."

But, he added: "I would have expected more fire engines to respond faster."

Emergency landings

AFP said firefighters were tackling the blaze but were "running dangerously low on water", the interior ministry said in an appeal to traffic to give way to trucks ferrying water to the airport.

"Apart from emergency landings, all flights into and out of JKIA have been cancelled ... (the) airport has been shut down," added Iringo.

The fire broke out shortly before dawn.

There were no initial reports of casualties, but Iringo said the fire was "massive", adding that the arrivals and immigration sections were "totally damaged".

Flights were being diverted to other airports, including the port city of Mombasa, the interior ministry added.

Images on Kenyan media showed flames rising high in the sky and billowing clouds of black smoke out of the main arrivals and departures terminal, with dozens of police and fire trucks at the scene.

Busiest airport

The airport serves as a regional hub for east Africa, with many long-distance international flights landing there to connect to countries across the region.

Kenya National Disaster Operation Centre, in an update given at 05:00GMT, said that while the blaze had been brought under control in the international departures areas, fire was still burning at the arrivals terminal.

All roads around the airport had been closed except to emergency traffic, it added.

"This is a major crisis," said senior transport ministry official Michael Kamau.

The blaze comes two days after aircraft were delayed for several hours after the failure of a fuel hydrant needed for refuelling the planes.

The Nairobi airport is the busiest airport in East Africa, and its closure is likely to affect flights throughout the region.

Are you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts

- AP

Read more on:    kenya  |  aviation  |  east africa  |  air travel  |  kenyan airport fire
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.