Kenya: Deadly Nairobi Gas Explosion Injures Nearly 300

    Kenya: Deadly Nairobi Gas Explosion Injures Nearly 300
    Photo: Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images News via Getty Images (Jan. 15, 2019)

    The Facts

    • A truck carrying gas cylinders exploded in a parking lot located within a residential area of Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday night, killing at least three people — including a child — and causing almost 300 injuries.

    • Several houses, commercial properties, and vehicles were damaged as the blast ignited a huge fireball that "spread widely" in the southeast Embakasi district. Firefighters reportedly managed to extinguish the blaze by around 9 a.m. (local time) on Friday.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    The rules and regulations make it obvious that it's inappropriate to run a gas storage and filling business near a residential area. Running the operation was a crime, as was allowing it to operate in the first place. The authorities knew of the illegal operation but did nothing to stop it. Rumors are swirling about local officials being bribed for violating building codes and regulations. Corruption and negligence could very well have helped to create this horrible tragedy.

    Narrative B

    Those responsible for this disaster will be held accountable. Last year, the owner of the illegal LPG refilling and storage site where the blast occurred, as well as some of his customers, had already been convicted and sentenced. An investigation needs to be conducted before jumping to conclusions, but Kenya has robust systems in place to probe disasters like this and prosecute as appropriate.

    Nerd narrative

    There's an 11% chance that Kenya will experience a civil war before 2036, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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