Life & Stories

Fire Tragedy

This year has been the hottest year we’ve had in the past three years in Kenya. We’ve experienced several dry months in a row, this a sign of food and water shortage when the reserves run low. A dreaded situation especially in specific regions of the country. With the hot sun and drylands, lately, I’ve been seeing wildfires in the farms bordering grasslands and a forest fire last week that razed one-half of a river bed only to be cut and contained by the river leaving destruction on the one half. The fires are hazards and warning signs of looming danger hence the need for some measures of preparedness and prevention.

Fires can be very dangerous and damaging. The more need to have all the safety precautionary measures in place in case of a disaster. What happens though in case the relevant institution is not well prepared or equipped? As much as some responsibilities are assigned to other bodies to handle for efficiency and any other reason, being prepared for the uncertainty helps reduce the risk either the probability of the risk occurring or the containment of the risk in a case where it does occur.

I’ve never experienced a fire tragedy until this week. And as many accidents are due to some level of negligence or human error, the first fire is suspected to be a case of human error in an adjacent property that resulted in an electrical fault still to be confirmed though. With no warning or time leniency, the little error soon turned to a fire hazard burning several structures including a full hay store which accelerated the fires and making it even harder to put out. The response time by the county fire department was quick but the one truck could only do as much containment. The fire was already fast spreading to other properties in the interval between the first fire truck and the others. There was significant help from good Samaritans and neighbors but although some valuables were moved, the fire razed the adjacent structures, their contents, and a lorry that was packed close to the building. 11 hours and 4 fire trucks later, the fire was contained. Thick smoke, soot, and the smell of fire wasn’t a pleasant scene. The chaos and loss are disheartening. Like a streak of bad luck, a wild fire spread to the farm on the next day destroying many acres of land. Efforts to contain it were not as successful. Water from the dams couldn’t be accessed to help extinguish, it was dark and the only solution was to make trenches with the tractors to redirect the fires back forming a circle and killing it saving one half of the farm. The distance of the farm from any fire station obviously meant no help was coming plus if they did, they are not equipped for such. With no farm insurance, another painful experience. Luckily no one was hurt and I’m sure we will get over the losses, and be up on our feet again.

Tragedies happen and we can’t predict or control everything that happens. I’m still in the acceptance stage and working out a way forward. This is a painful experience and lesson. A reminder that fire hazards are real and the need for precautionary measures and evaluation of the same on a regular. The past 2 years haven’t been easy for me, with unfortunate losses. I however still have hope and will keep showing up and doing my part. I know as long as we are gifted with life, and have a will, no mountain can’t be moved. Do you have any fire tragedy experience? How did you cope?

Before and after


35 thoughts on “Fire Tragedy

  1. Fire can be so utterly devastating. I have not experienced it myself but the fires in Australia and the loss of the animals there, the panic stricken horses in the California wildfires, and the fires destroying homes and farms in Alberta have been very upsetting for me even just seeing it on the news .

  2. 😭So sorry, we have fires almost every summer and we make fire breaks to help contain the fire. These fire breaks need to be maintained throughout the year. We also use helicopters to firebomb with water but that is if you can get water. When we had a drought a few years ago I think we used sea water.

    Have you heard of Tiyeni? It is an organization in Malawi that helps farmers with practices that regenerate the soil. I am participating in a world summit at the moment about soil regeneration. The reason I mention this is because it actually affects the water retainment of the soil… Which affects plant growth and draughts. They are saying very interesting things that could help as a long term plan.

    1. Thank you Morag. It has been a tough few weeks. We also do fire breaks but they hadn’t been maintained for a while, probably because we’ve had 3 years of continuous heavy rains. Unfortunately
      We don’t have helicopter services for such.

      I haven’t heard of it but will lool.into it. Must be really interesting. I’ve also been interested in soil health last few years. Most of the soils especially in my region is dead. People have been led to believe that the keep to bumper yields is fertiliser hence there has been an overuse over the years and soil exhaustion plus erosion of top soil.

      I trust you’ve been well?

      1. Good to hear. I am well to. We however had a new lockdown in the country starting yesterday and expected to stretch for the next many months in the wake of the 3rd wave and the struggling medical system with aims of containing the virus and flattening the curve. There will be many inconveniences but I’m sure all will be well eventually. How is the pandemic situation in your country?

      2. I am glad you are well. Yes we have the president’s speech this evening and it will be announcing new lock down measures as we are expecting the 3rd wave as well. We have a huge alcohol problem which triggers violence and then the hospitals fill up and covid patients can’t be attended to so probably they will ban the sale of alcohol again. Many people struggle with that but we don’t drink alcohol that much so we don’t mind. At least the hospitals should be available for covid patients.

      3. The alcohol issue seems to cut across. It was a contended topic here as well. Yes, probably the ban will slow down the violence. Keep safe and have a peaceful week

  3. Kinge, I’m so sorry to hear about this. The effects of fire tragedy are indeed devastating. My mom’s childhood home was bombed during the second world war and while everyone thankfully escaped with their physical health, of course the effects of losing all of their earthly belongings including their home took its toll, especially on the adults. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and the others affected. By the way I did manage to buy your book on Kindle a while back (I finally realized I had been logged in with the wrong country’s Amazon after I moved overseas, so the Kindle version didn’t show up before). It looks great, I plan on reading it with the kids soon. Take good care of yourself. Lots of love xoxo

    1. Thank you Lia. Yes, the loss takes its toll and it’s a huge dent to people’s lives. But in time with acceptance and effort, there’s recovery and growth.

      Sorry about the trouble in getting the book. So glad though that you managed to get it and looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it and a possible Amazon review. Thank you again.

  4. Australia gets bushfires all the time, that we got experienced systems in place and the technology to deal with it. But nothing is good enough. Fires are something humans can never beat. I feel for you mate

    1. I agree with you, we can’t beat fires. Only put preventive measures to help contain and neutralize. Its good that Australia has technology to assist, it helps. Your 2019-20 Bushfires were very intense. They are not as common here so no much effort is put. All initiative is left to land owners and farmers.

  5. Thanks for sharing this news bro. Pray things improve where you are. Continue to be positive and never give up writing here on your blog for we are reading and being impacted by your words. Stay strong bro! Blessings to you! 😊🙏💛👊🎉

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