31 Jan 2009

22 dead, two dozen missing in supermarket fire

6:20 am on 31 January 2009

At least 22 people died and more than two dozen more are still missing after a fire destroyed a supermarket in Nairobi two days ago.

The cause of the fire on Wednesday afternoon is still unknown.

The store was part of the Nakumatt supermarket chain.

Rescue operations were delayed by the risk of structural collapse.

The Red Cross said 47 people have been reported missing, including the 22 confirmed dead.

Nakumatt managers on Friday denied any doors were locked at the time of the blaze. A company statement said the store "was fully fire safety compliant and had been installed with advanced fire/smoke detectors."

In an editorial, the Daily Nation newspaper said: "Ours is a modern city with an 18th century fire-fighting infrastructure."