Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority EPRA has now confirmed that the site of last night’s explosion had previously been denied a permit for failing to meet prerequisite safety regulations.
According to the authority, applications for the construction permits for a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) storage and filling station at the site were filed on the 19th of March 2023, 20th of June 2023 and 31st July 2023 but were all denied on grounds that the designs failed to meet the stipulated safety distance from the densely populated Mradi area in Embakasi.
ADDENDUM: 200 people were injured last night following a huge fire explosion in Embakasi. The explosion came from Kentainers Company near Kabansora in Embakasi. Workers were refilling gas cylinders when the explosion occurred. pic.twitter.com/IcBW725pXx— 𝕵𝖆𝖛𝖆𝖓 𝕺𝖓𝖌𝖚𝖗𝖚™ 🇰🇪 🇺🇬 🇹🇿 (@OnguruMeister) February 2, 2024
The energy regulator also confirmed that the proprietors of the facility had been requested to provide a Quanlitative Risk Assessment prior to establishing the plant but failed to do so.
At least 3 people have been confirmed dead and more than 200 inured after the gas explosion. Several families have been displaced and property worth millions of shillings destroyed in the incident that occurred just a few minutes before midnight.
Government spokesperson Issac Mwaura who issued a statement confirmed that 21 of the injured were currently receiving treatment at the Kenyatta National Hospital, 160 at the Mama Lucy Hospital, 19 at Mbagathi Hospital, 14 at the Modern Komarock Hospital and 8 at the Nairobi West Hospital .
The dark night sky glowed umber amid terrifying screams from residents as they rushed out of their houses to find reprieve. Neighbouring businesses to the premises also incurred losses of unknown value as multiple explosions at the site sent flaming projectiles into their properties.
On the Embakasi Gas Plant fire incident, I personally called NEMA several times to ask them two questions.— 𝙱𝚘𝚜𝚜 𝚈𝚊𝚝𝚘𝚛☚ (@Bossyator) February 2, 2024
1. Why there was a gas handling factory operating next to a residential area?
2. How did the company get a permit to operate next to a residential area given the hazards… pic.twitter.com/uQ25aH3kUT
“ The scene has now been secured and a command centre is now in place to help coordinate rescue operations.” , the government spokesperson said. Area residents have been asked to keep off the area as authorities continue to comb the site for potential hazards.
EPRA has since expressed condolences to the families of the decreased and the injured, saying it will conduct a nationwide assessment of all LPG plants to avert a repeat of the incident. The authority reiterated its commitment to addressing the issue, further vowing to demolish all illegal plants and increase spot checks across all facilities in the country to curb malfeasance.