Sunbeam traders acquired the shopping mall following a freak thunderstorm in 1996 that brought down the then supermarket along Moi Avenue killing more than 40 people who were sheltering against the heavy downpour under the half-finished building
Traders along Mfanghano street-based Sunbeam shopping complex woke up to a rude shock on Monday to a mysterious fire that gutted down several shops, hotels, and bars. The fire whose cause is yet to be established is reported to have started at dawn following a blackout.
This has led to speculation that the on and off power fluctuations could be to blame. Sunbeam traders acquired the shopping mall following a freak thunderstorm in 1996 that brought down the then supermarket along Moi Avenue killing more than 40 people who were sheltering against the heavy downpour under the half-finished building.
The late President Daniel Moi visited the site and ordered that owner of Sunbeam who turned out to be the proscribed GEMA association be relocated. The then Sunbeam supermarket was housed in a half-finished building that had collected huge amounts of water on the roof as the rains pounded the city.
On a tragic day, a thunderstorm was all it took to bring down the building, caving in on people. The incident saw city authorities out-law occupation of half-finished buildings but the ban has since been ignored, perhaps “until another tragedy strikes”!
Traders accuse the Nairobi Fire Brigade of taking too long to respond to the alarm and later running out of water when they finally arrived! Several traders claimed they were called by relatives and rushed to the scene hoping to salvage some of the property in vain.
A traumatized hotel and bar owner broke down and wept saying he had just refurbished his premises and new stocks using a Ksh. 400.000 loan he secured from a bank and is now unable to cope. Mysterious fires in Nairobi are nothing new especially in busy areas like the Gikomba market which saw at least four outbreaks last year blamed on individuals seeking for land to grab. Sunbeam is a GEMA business flagship that was for years associated with city businessman the late Njenga Karume.
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