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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Bizarre facts about JKIA fire

It is easy to imagine what is happening in some western capital as airline executives discuss yesterday's inferno at the JKIA. "Where did it happen?" "Africa?" "Well that is expected isn't it? "Natives running an airport like some stall in some village market in the bush."

You can be pretty sure that such discussions are taking place even as you read this. But you and I are more informed on what is to be expected in the particular part of Africa where an international airport burnt down in the early hours of yesterday.

For starters fire in an airport that was not caused by a crash landing aircraft is almost unheard of (even in Africa). Process that for a minute. Secondly JKIA is a high security zone and is monitored by CCTV almost everywhere. That security has been heightened considerably in recent years with the emerging terror threat from the likes of Al Shabab. I have also confirmed that the place is literally crawling with smoke detectors. Then add to all that the fact that top security and intelligence officers are based at the top of the international arrivals unit.

How then does a fire start in a fortress and spread gradually without anybody paying any attention to it?

(read the rest of this article in my latest raw notes).

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13 comments:

Anonymous said...

A village stall it - JKIA - is and it has been managed like one in a very long time.

The CCTV system at JKIA does not have an alternative location or secondary viewing capacity, and that is why the system was rendered useless or inoperable the moment the terminal was engulfed in massive flames.

The CCTV footage from a forty-eight hour cycle leading to the time when fire broke out, was damaged and there is very little for investigators to go by in terms of visuals forensics.

Furthermore, there is no use at all of having fake smoke detectors in very limited locations within the terminals at JKIA, at time when malfunctioning sprinklers are the order of the day.

There has always been zero routine checkup or maintenance of the fake - very poor quality - smoke detectors and sprinklers at JKIA and other major government facilities around the city.

Kenyans should not be surprised at all that the recently refurbished parliament at a cost of over several billion shillings is still very vulnerable to fire related disasters due to inadequate fire prevention measures within the buildings.

We, as nation, had it coming and it was about time to have a wake-up call of such magnitude because we seem to have already forgotten all about the embassy bombing and its aftermath more than a decade ago.

Complacency is our collective second nature as well as our Achilles heel. Very little outcome should be expected from the enquiry about the mess JKIA has become in terms of security and overall management the entire facility.

Anonymous said...

Are you trying to imply it's juju in play?
LOL!

Anonymous said...

Kenyans have been left wondering and asking why Kenya's finest police officers, CID officers, diligent NSIS agents, airport police, plain-clothes detectives, airport employees and many of the private security firms based at JKIA, all failed to detect or spot the initial sparks of fire before it mushroomed into a wild massive fire?

Anonymous said...

What a country Kenya has become, and what else is expected to go wrong on a huge scale?

Hate to be remined that JKIA is located in Africa, the eastern part of it, where everything goes, and ordinary people always brace themselves for the very worst all year round.

Ironically, there was never a single moment nor time whereby the international airports in Angola, Mozambique, Chad, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, etcetera, were set ablaze or razed to the ground by the warring factions, regardless of whether the forces were retreating or advancing.

That is why it is so mind boggling to try and figure out a single reason or cause as to why an international airport located in the so-called "remaining oasis of peace" in Africa ended up being engulfed by a massive fire in a matters of minutes.

Kenya will surely need outside expert help in tackling what will become known as one of the country's most notorously difficult and embarrassing episode, namely, a fire outbreak that went undetected at one of the main terminals at JKIA.

How far below "its one time former glory" will the country have to sink before the majority of its citizens can wake up and deal with the entrenched adminstrative rot that has become part and parcel of every day life within the public and private sectors?

Anonymous said...

Kitanda wili! Kitanda wili! ... Moto uwanjani?

Anonymous said...

Most residents of Kibera County will never get a chance to use or fly out of JKIA unless they get a huge break in their lifetime. But all they can do is work at it, the emptiness of life, as they know it in Kibera County, while they watch from a distance whenever planes land and fly out of JKIA. They have learned to find joy in what comes their way. Their only hope is to learn how to be joyful in spite of the type of huge clouds of smoke that they are used to seeing bellowing from pollutants in their neighbourhood, and the occasional man-made freak accidents like the one that occurred at JKIA.

Anonymous said...

Remember the time we made fun of and mocked certain politicians for staying in hotels that charge $7500 a night, including others for purchasing belts worth $3000, and for hiring a private jet for so-called official trips throughout the African continent at the cost of over $450,000 a trip in fuel costs alone, minus the pilots salary and other regular maintenance costs? Well, brace yourself for the laptop that will leave most of us wondering where they went, and why there are so many students in the country attending classes in buildings that do not have roofs and windows, desks and blackboards, etc.

Anonymous said...

Just check who has been in charge CID, NIS and Airport security in this country over the last 10 years and you will get your answer to the disaster of JKIA. You cannot put people who can only operate in chaos to run an airport, much less a country!!
The other day, thugs running amok in the airport with police cheering on as they peed on the carpets and sofa seats. Then shortly thereafter, they run out of fuel!! Look at the management people in this country. None of them can initiate industrialization projects. They are too much into stocks and shares-worthless as these may be. Why is that so? Because it does not require brains and hard work.

Anonymous said...

wapi the usual Nyanza si Kenya commentator?

Anonymous said...

You thought you could deny people's President privilege to enjoy VIP lounge and get away with it?
This is Kenya!

Anonymous said...

Kidero has an urgent task to fulfill, one of finding enough land where a second international airport must be built, otherwise, Nairobi County and rest of the country will be forced to say goodbye to JKIA's glorified status as being one of the largest aviation hubs in the region.

International and regional businesses that rely on the aviation industry will be forced to seek secure alternatives hubs in a location that is not far removed from Nairobi, Kenya, where a massive infusion of billions of dollars will have to be invested in the construction of a new international airport or expansion of existing international airports in countries like Tanzania, Ethiopia or even Uganda.

Who is to say that the project or immediate search for an alternative hub is not in the making - works - given the massive fire that razed a terminal at JKIA at a time when the Chinese are willing to invest where they can reap to the GDP's content of their Chinese nation?

Kidero and company have simple task ahead, where they either get their act together or end up being taken advantage of by their keen rivals in Dar es Salaam and Addis Ababa.

It will be only be a matter of time before they are awoken to a rude shock by the announcement of such a huge aviation project in the region.

"Comfort, O comfort my people, is what matters most in the airline industry" and Kidero and his counterparts should make sure that they provide sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

The airport is run like a village stall or a jua-kali stand due to one of the well known facts that there is zero oversight at JKIA and many other sensitive government/private installations in the country. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Was the fire that razed down the main terminal at JKIA, collateral damage in vengeful - payback - plot?

And who is responsible for carrying out the criminal act that should have been considered as domestic terrorism against the country and its people?

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