Gasoline Pipeline Explodes in Kenya

Monday, September 12, 2011 @ 01:09 PM gHale

A deadly explosion caused by a leak from a gasoline pipeline into nearby sewage has left at least 75 dead and over 100 suffering from severe burns in a Nairobi, Kenya, neighborhood.

A Red Cross official said they recovered at least 75 bodies so far. Richard Lisiyampe who heads Kenyatta National Hospital said at least 112 burn victims have arrived.

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Flames leapt out from the pipeline in a radius of some 300 yards (meters), setting shacks ablaze and incinerating scores of people, according to an Associated Press report. Homes are all around the pipeline, residents said. Kenya Pipeline Co. operates the pipeline.

“I’ve lost count of the number of bodies,” said Wilfred Mbithi, the policeman in charge of operations in Nairobi as he stood at the scene. “Many had dived into the river trying to put out their flames.”

Resident Joseph Mwangi, 34, said he was feeding his cow when people went running past him, calling out that there was a leak in the pipeline. He said others started drawing fuel and that he was going to go and get a bucket and get fuel too when he heard an explosion around 9 a.m. By then fuel had leaked into the river and parts of the river had also caught fire.

At the time of the explosion, the narrow, twisting alleyways near the pipeline would have been full of people on their way to work or school who had stopped to try to scoop up fuel. The flimsy homes of corrugated iron sheets would have offered little resistance to the blast.

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