Massive fire closes Nairobi airport, flights rerouted

2013-08-07 08:48

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

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

Dark black smoke that billowed 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.

The Kenya Airports Authority said the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has been closed until further notice so that emergency teams can battle the fire.

Associated Press reporters at the scene said the fire had gutted the international arrivals hall, where passengers pass through immigration and retrieve their luggage.

As in many countries in East Africa, public sector services like police and fire units are hobbled by small budgets and outdated or no equipment.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 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.”

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

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. 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
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


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 network.


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.