Fire Guts East Africa's Biggest Airport

No immediate signs of terrorism in Nairobi blaze

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Aug 7, 2013 12:03 AM CDT | Updated Aug 7, 2013 2:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – A massive fire has destroyed the arrivals hall at Kenya's main international airport, forcing the closure of East Africa's largest airport and the rerouting of all inbound flights. Dark black smoke that shot skyward was visible across much of Nairobi as emergency teams battled the blaze. Passengers reported a slow response by the under-resourced fire brigade, and the blaze raged for four hours before being contained. No deaths or injuries have been reported.

The fire broke out on the 15th anniversary of the US Embassy bombings in Nairobi and neighboring Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, but there were no immediate signs of terrorism. Kenya's anti-terror police boss says he is waiting for the fire to be put out so that he can inspect the scene before making a judgment. As in many countries in the region, public sector services like police and fire units are hobbled by small budgets and outdated or no equipment. Many of the units responding to today's fire were from private security firms.

Black smoke billows from the international arrival unit  of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.
Black smoke billows from the international arrival unit of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.   (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
A blaze rages in the arrivals hall at  Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.
A blaze rages in the arrivals hall at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.   (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
Onlookers watch as black smoke billows from the international arrival unit  of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.
Onlookers watch as black smoke billows from the international arrival unit of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.   (AP Photo/Segeni Ngethe)
Policemen look at the fire near the international arrivals unit of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.
Policemen look at the fire near the international arrivals unit of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.   (AP Photo/Sayyid Azim)
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