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Derrick Kimathi, the owner of the property in Mradi village in Embakasi where a gas explosion occurred on Thursday night, has denied culpability in the accident.

According to Kimathi’s lawyer, Wandugi Karathe, the property was being used as a garage at the time of the explosion and not as a gas filling station.

“The motor vehicle that caused this incident trespassed on his [Mr Kimathi’s] property without his knowledge and consent and he is actively pursuing the details of that vehicle so that it can be exposed to the police.”

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Mr Karathe admitted that Mr Kimathi had applied for a licence to operate a gas filling station in 2023, which was rejected.

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“Knowing the regulations of a gas filling station, he did not start that business and the premises continued to be used as a garage where cars are repaired,” he said.

Mr Karathe also refuted claims that Mr Kimathi was in hiding.

“He is available, he is in the public domain and he has been in touch with sections of the police. Our client is willing to cooperate fully with the police in the course of their investigations, but requests that the media refrain from publishing unverified false statements that are prejudicial to him,” he said.

A total of three people died from injuries sustained in the blast, while nearly 300 people were injured. An unknown amount of property was also destroyed in the incident.

The aftermath of a huge gas blast in Embakasi Nairobi last night.

About 3,000 families were affected, according to rescue teams on the ground, with some individuals in critical condition. A police report on the incident said it happened when a truck loaded with gas exploded, igniting a fire that spread to neighbouring buildings.

The Energy Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) revealed that the company did not have a licence to set up a gas plant in the area.

Residents had previously raised the issue of such a facility being in the neighbourhood, Rosemary Wangui, a landlord, said. To them, it was always a question of when, not if.

But their cries for help to avert the disaster were ignored.

 

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