There was a fire reported at JKIA about half an hour ago by a passenger on a plane

It is unbelievable that a fire cannot be extinguished quickly (within minutes and not allowed to spread) in such a high priority area

THis would mean that either there are not enough safety features at the airport, or a lack of alert staff, or just shoddy management of safety services

A fire to that extent in a high traffic, highly visible area, and there has been no threat of terrorism is shameful

JKIA Fire 2

Fire JKIA 1

JKIA fire 3

11 comments on “JKIA Fire

  1. Illegal gold exports linked to JKIA blaze

    Illegal gold trade involving billions of shillings between business men in Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Italy, and South Africa has been linked to last week’s fire at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

    Documents in possession of the Star, including a report prepared by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) prior to the fire incident point to a major collusion between immigration officials, custom officials and police at JKIA in the illegal gold trade and money laundering.

    The Flying Squad in a confidential report has revealed that Sh3.4 billion has been transiting through JKIA every month in cash without any scrutiny and without the involvement of any bank or financial institution.

    On the spot are companies which Flying Squad says have been exporting gold and “transact in cash without involving banks or foreign exchange dealers.”

    The Flying Squad has unearthed that the gold exporters on the spot have not been using official monetary instruments declaration form at JKIA “but rather counterfeit forms which are not in quadruplicate as required by law”under the guise that the genuine and official forms are out of stock.

    Flying Squad has also said that from February 2013 to May 2013, passenger manifests obtained from Emirates Airline indicate the different names of people suspected to be couriers of the cash which are also reflected in the currency declaration forms.

    The squad has said there in need for an “explanation for cash amounting to US$40 million (Sh 3.4 billion) per month transiting through JKIA without any scrutiny and these large sums of cash not being banked.”

    The report by CID was finalized a few days before last week’s inferno at JKIA that destroyed the international arrivals terminal at Kenya’s largest airport. The Wednesday’s fire destroyed Customs area, immigration area and airport police.

    In essence, the fire destroyed all records at the immigration area, those of the custom department as well as vital information held by the police.

    There is a possibility that the subject of this investigation started on May 22, 2013 by officers from the Flying Squad Unit led by the unit’s head Munga Nyale, will be of interest to those looking in who may have started the fire.

    Vital documents related to the 17 shipments of gold valued at Sh 6.2 billion which was exported in 2010 by eight companies to the UAE, Canada, Italy and South Africa are believed to be among those destroyed during the fire.

    In 2011, the same companies exported gold worth Sh5.7 billion and a further Sh4.5 billion last year.

    Highly placed sources with the police and those familiar with the gold sector claim that unscrupulous gold traders working in cahoots with custom officials, police and immigration officials to facilitate the business have been shipping off gold smuggled from neighbouring countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo under the guise that it was all from Kenyan mines. “The gold is exported as originating from Kenya. It is usually transported at night to JKIA where unscrupulous immigration officials, custom officials and police collude to ensure that the cargo leaves the country without proper documentation or scrutiny.”

    The sources said that once the shipment arrives at its destination, payment is made in cash—usually in dollars. The cash is then brought into the country by couriers who are met at the airport by customs and immigration officers who facilitate their entry without proper documentation.

    The law requires that residents and non-residents bringing in cash equivalent to USD 5,000 (approximately Sh 500,000) and more need to hold documents indicating the source and the purpose of the amount.

    In its report, the Flying Squad has warned that there is possibility of the large amounts of cash illegally entering though JKIA “being used for funding terrorism, purchasing or smuggling of arms or money laundering.”



  2. Another shameful episode in the Kenyan corrupt regime.

    What do you get for electing incompetence…incompetence.
    Where are the smoke detectors at an international airport that should automatically trigger sprinklers and mad alarms? Where are the hand held fire extinguishers that every commonsensical public building possesses? Where are the staff educated enough to ensure that these hand held fire extinguishers are always filled and are operatable? But most I importantly how does an electrical error goes undetected at an international airport: the most high security place determining what’s dangerous and what’s not.
    What is the lesson learnt here? Hire qualified and educated persons who can actually respond to life threatening emergencies and who can deliver eloquent press reports.
    Wake up people, fight for what is right, what moves us forward and not that which sets us centuries backward.


  3. So I guess “this is so big by our own standards”

    Exactly as I thought

    The KAA is incompetent as far as safety is concerned


    “For such a sensitive installation to be brought down by fire, the JKIA disaster preparedness, contingency planning and even response capabilities stand highly questionable,” said Captain Ahmed Taib, an aviation safety and security specialist.

    He continued: “The cardinal rule of contingency planning, particularly within an airport is that rescue and fire fighting services respond below three minutes.”

    Capt Taib said testing of the plans, preparedness, prevention, response and recovery must be done periodically.

    According to the director of the National Disaster Operations, Col Nathan Kigotho, the unit sent fire engines between 30 and 40 minutes after the fire broke out.

    “We mobilised fire-fighting resources and the first to arrive were from the National Youth Service, the Nairobi Fire Brigade and the Kenya Defence Forces,” Col Kigotho said.

    Twelve firefighters were sent to the scene. Col Kigotho said his team expected the airport fire-fighting engines to have arrived at the scene immediately after the fire broke out.

    One fire engine

    The airport has only three fire engines instead of the recommended eight and only two were in working condition when the fire started.

    “When the fire broke out there was only one engine at the scene,” said Mr Francis Liech, Kenya National Fire Brigades Association secretary.

    The airport’s distance from the nearest fire stations also makes it difficult to salvage much in the event of an emergency.

    Well here is the truth people, brace for reduced air traffic. Its not about the terminal getting burnt. No tourist will willingly want to travel to a destination that can turn into a fiery grave

    But whats worse is the idiocy in the response. comeon people, this is an international airport, the busiest in East and Central Africa

    bucket response



    • looking at the picture of these soldiers going to fetch water in buckets

      i wonder

      a) there is a lot of hush hush talk about how the economy will suffer on account of this incident (will come back to this maybe)

      b) these folks are smiling like they are on the way to a picnic, how serious is/was that fire at that point in time? the walk appears casual, no urgency or haste. at which point was it decided that the crisis was over? looking behind them i still see the firemen still spraying the building with water

      c) but its not really about the soldiers but about the dolt that sent them to fetch water. lets suppose that this fire was so SO SOOO (3 times as much) much bigger than Kiraithe thought, and that these guys really needed to fetch water. how many of these trips would be required by these gents to obtain the equivalent volume of water required say for the fire engine behind them to squirt water for 1 minute? what is the real life possibility that two or more fire engines can actually make use of the water thus supplied in an efficient manner? if water fetched was not for the fire engines, how would they put out a raging fire rising more than 500 ft into the air? are kenyans really serious about safety?

      ( i of course assume they are fetching water from a source at least 2 minutes away that the fire engines cannot directly access for some reason. i even assume further that its not a single water tap/fawcett or two but a fast flowing water source like a river – einstein do you remember washing a barrack, drawing water in a cup from a source 1 mile away 🙂 )

      now this is what we call in kenya disaster management ( a rare skill where one stands by and spectates as disaster unfolds, occasionally clicking the tongue ….. this is so SO SOOO big …… did anyone see/count how many “high profile” dignitaries and security chaps turned up to the event? …. So SOOO SOOOOO big … even by our own standards …)

      ok am outta here

      excellent coverage by the amateur videographer that recorded this clip

      it will probably go viral in a few hours (they need to edit and get some other dude/girl to voice over for international effect)

      from that edited clip

      looks like the fire started early morning 4 am

      by 6 AM (break of dawn) there was no serious fire fighting, almost 2 hours later Looks to be about 1.5 hours before any serious fire fighting activity took place

      it appears that people were being turned away earlier than 4 AM when the smoke eventually became visible from the outside.

      considering how calm the security officers and the public are, thats quite amazing


      • tnk wrote:

        “( i of course assume they are fetching water from a source at least 2 minutes away that the fire engines cannot directly access for some reason. i even assume further that its not a single water tap/fawcett or two but a fast flowing water source like a river – einstein do you remember washing a barrack, drawing water in a cup from a source 1 mile away 🙂 )”

        Ndugu tnk,

        Who ever came up with the idea that we ‘kurutu’ aka recruits had to fetch water for washing a whole barrack of over 50 ‘soldiers’ in a tea cup was the NYS’ best genius!! How folks get such ideas, just blows my mind!

        Yes indeed, we drew water from the toilets (if the taps in the toilets were running at all) in our tea cups to clean a whole barrack building! In my barrack we devised a quicker method by forming a human chain from the toilets to the barrack so we could pass on the cups of water from one person to the next without everybody having to walk/rush to the barrack from the toilets and vice-versa with their single cups full of water!!

        Man, it used to take us from 6 pm evening to almost 1 am in the morning to clean-wash the barrack. Thereafter, we still had to clean and iron our ‘military uniforms and boots’ in readiness for the ‘combat’ next day! By the time we were going to bed, it was already 3 am. That left us with only 1 hour to sleep, since at exactly 4 am we had to wake up for morning jogs and fitness training!!

        What a life? And yet my country has not even compensated me to date in terms of a good career in my motherland for all that sh!t!!

        So when I hear William Ruto saying that he is a hustler, I can only say that he should know people! We were the real hustlers. William Ruto never attended pre-university NYS in them days! He should just shut up!!


    • The picture of the good soldiers with plastic backets tells the whole story. Considering there is no water in the hydrants etc I don’t know if the soldiers have to pee in the buckets to throw that at the fire. You have to feel sorry for these soldiers. They are just thrown in there to do something and they take i t in stride literally.

      The good news is that nobody died in the tragedy. The sheer incompetence is breathtaking even for Kenya. But for me what amazes me is that we have not been able to burn down that country altogether. That is a miracle. There is no fire fighting machinery and services anywhere in Kenya and it is not a priority anywhere.

      In the smaller towns whole streets and buildings are razed down everyday from accidental fires. I watched a whole building burn in Bondo town once and all anybody could do was run in and out to risk your life to save a pot. Everybody else just stood and watched and prayed the fire never jumps to the other building.

      We have huge markets with wooden structures and all sorts of plastic materials. And then we have the slums where terrible structures hag each other. A fire in any of those places can burn for days and destroy whole communities. So Kenyans should count their luck that the entire joint hasn’t burnt itself to the ground yet as helpless citizens look bewildered. Let’s hope we don’t run out of luck. You would think something like this would wake State House and other places up. It won’t. They are going to forget it as soon as the planes are taking off again. That is how the country is run.

      And then we had the other circus where KAAA brought in a couple hundred of thugs picked from the streets to come vandalise and trash the Duty Free Shop. That is how reckless the super powers in Kenya are. They bring criminals into controlled airport areas to rob a store as passengers look on.


    • this is too painful to watch – our soldiers fetching water in plastic pails and basins to fight an inferno? did they bring these from the barracks or are these provided by KAA for use in JKIA toilets?

      As expected, those who were obviously sleeping on the job still retain their jobs. a new head cop has been brought in, a committee or whatever it’s called this time has been formed and we have moved on. I suppose the National Disaster Management Agency (NADIMA) disappeared with the ‘collapse’ of the mother ministry.


  4. What the fuack is going on at JKIA! Just yesterday we had a fuel shortage as reported below and now fire destroys Jomo Kenyatta International Airport arrivals unit!!!

    This is the problem when you have boys in the process of turning into men trying to run sh!t!!

    Airport fuel hitch costs airlines

    More than 10 airlines are counting their losses after they changed flight schedules following an abrupt fuel shortage at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Monday night.

    The Kenya Association of Air Operators (Kaao) on Tuesday said the shortage caused by a pumping problem at the Kenya Pipeline Corporation (KPC) had left them with a “huge burden.”

    “It was a very serious shortcoming for a critical part of the aviation industry,” Kaao chief executive Eutychus Waithaka told the Nation by phone.

    “It is completely unacceptable, especially for an international airport. It was an inconvenience and a safety issue to users. The mathematics of the cost is a little complicated but it was a huge burden,” he said.

    Passengers were on Monday forced to wait for their flights after a fuel hydrant stalled for close to six hours. Also held up was the Kenya’s national athletics team travelling to the World Championships in Moscow.

    The team left on Tuesday morning.

    The association, which represents more than 60 operators, said the incident resulted in massive changes to the flights schedules whose costs the airlines will have to meet.

    Aircraft expected to land at JKIA had to be diverted to Moi International Airport in Mombasa or Kilimanjaro International Airport in Arusha, Tanzania, due to congestion.

    Those scheduled to flight out that Monday had to change plans because they had no fuel.

    This, said Col Waithaka, cost airlines the most as they had to accommodate stranded passengers and pay fines for missed connection flights.

    On Tuesday, JKIA manager Edward Kobuthi said 30 flights were affected.

    Emirates, Ethiopian Air, KLM, British Airlines, Precision Air, African Express, Brussels Air and Kenya Airways are among the flights that were affected by the crisis.

    Most of the flights expected to leave at 6pm eventually took off at around 10pm.



  5. We hope of course that there were no casualties

    From the news reports Immigration offices and International Arrivals sections is completely damaged.

    Some funny bloke on Twitter suggests that its the only sure fire way to stop Raila from accessing the VIP lounge 🙂

    But nothing beats “our mboys” Eric Kiraithe

    Head of Security at Kenya Airports Authority Eric Kiraithe said: “By our own standards this is so big.”

    This is the guy in charge of security at the airport.


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