Fire Burns in Kenya's Main Airport on 15th Anniversary of U.S. Embassy Bombings
A massive fire ripped through Kenya's main international airport Wednesday, forcing its closure and scattering incoming flights to other destinations.
No serious injuries were reported, and thus far, the fire has not been linked to the Fifteenth anniversary of the bombings of U.S. embassy in Nairobi, which was also on Wednesday. Anti-terrorism police in Kenya will perform a full investigation once the grounds are safe for inspection.
Inbound flights are being rerouted to neighboring cities including Mombasa, Eldoret and Kisumu and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Kenya's main airport will remain closed until further notice.
"We reassure international and local travelers that arrangements are being put in place to restore normal operations. The airlines are working to assist stranded passengers and advise them on the measures being put in place to resume services at JKIA," said Stephen Gichuki, the director of the Kenyan Airports Authority.
The fire reportedly started burning in East Africa's busiest airport, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, around 5 a.m. Wednesday morning. It had time to wreak havoc on the airport's international arrivals hall partially because of slow emergency response time — a common complaint in East Africa, where public service entities face low budgets and outdated equipment. Nairobi County has few (if any) working fire engines according to a report last month from The Daily Nation, Kenya's largest newspaper. The emergency response teams that did arrive belonged to private companies.