Massive Malindi fire consumes 500 houses

More than 500 houses in the posh casuarinas area of the resort town of Malindi houses been reduced to ashes after fire broke down on Wednesday, morning burning private villas owned by local and foreigners.

The fire burnt more than 100 plots worth millions of shillings which have several houses inside and spread to others from Verera house near Muyeye area within Malindi town.

By the time of going to press the fire was still burning and spreading so fast particularly in the makuti thatched villas owned by foreign investors.

Some of the villas and hotels had guests inside and there are fears of casualties but so far there are no reports of deaths.

When journalists arrived at the scene locals and even foreigners were trying to put off the fire as the only fire engine from Kilifi county fire department had been overwhelmed by the huge fire that was spreading so fast.

It was not immediately possible to get the exact number of the villas but those privy to the area said they could be over 500 and the number could be more as fire was still burning.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers who first to respond to the disaster were had a hard time controlling huge crowd of looters who were out to steal from the villas which were burning.

Other security personnel from the National police Service and Directorate of Criminal investigations (DCI) moved in fast to help in maintaining order.

In one of the villas an Italian national tried in vain to put off the fire and at the same time chase rogue youths who wanted to loot from the scene.

Together with friends the Italian lady used buckets to try and poor water in the Makuti thatched roof house but managed to save only a few things.

The villas largely affected are those with makuti thatched roofs.

Ray Johari who owns Twiga in the sun resort lost everything at his hotel but his guests were safe.

Journalists found him trying to come to terms with the disaster that had suddenly burnt all his property.

“I opened this hotel one year ago , the fire started at African house and spread fast burning my place, luckily all my guests who were inside are safe,’’ he said.

Silvana Testa an Italian tourist was still in shock following the incident and blamed the authorities for failing to have disaster response team to handle such incidents.

“There was no response at all everytime there is fire only the locals take part in putting it off,’’ she said.

Abdul Rahman a resident of Malindi called on the county government to invest in firefighting equipment so as to handle such disasters in future.

He said it was shame to see such huge fire and with very little response from the authorities.

The Incident occurred a time when the tourism season is coming to an end.

Most of the tourists and foreigners living in private villas were waiting to celebrate Easter and then travel abroad.