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. So sorry to hear that. Fire can be absolutely devastating. My husband’s parents lost their home and everything in the Ash Wednesday bushfires many years ago. We were in the path of some devastating fires back in 2008 before fortunately the wind turned. And a few years ago we were on hand to help when a man accidentally ignited himself while camping. Fire is such a powerful force. I wish you all the best over there. Please take care.

  2. Dealing with, and tackling such fires is very sobering. I can appreciate your experience here. I have been involved in “managing” such fires for the best part of 20 years now.

    We have systems in place that are a blend of professional and volunteer fire fighters. Also, in fire prone areas, a person cannot build a house now without a bushfire management plan in place.

    Sadly, many fires are started deliberately or through lightening strikes or machinery issuing sparks on a very hot day. We have different fire ban levels in place from state wide total fire bans to localised harvest and vehicle movement bans.

    A month ago with a major fire here, the water bombers sprayed fire retardant in a defensive line over many kilometres and as a result saved a number of towns. There is no guarantee this will work as wildfire sparks can jump many kilometres on the wind very quickly.

    Thank you, Kinge for sharing such a personal and thoughtful experience 😊

  3. My only experience with fire and I didn’t really experience it myself because I wasn’t born yet but I felt the effects of it all my life. Our house burned down and my oldest sister who was 3 at the time perished in the flames. My father was able to rescue my second oldest sister who was 2, although he was severely burned doing so. My mother never was the same after this tragedy and was cold and closed off for the rest of her life. Afraid to love her children.
    Thank you Kinge for sharing your experience ❤️❤️🤗🤗

  4. Sorry to hear this, Kinge. No word can minimize the loss or take it away, but as you rightly stated, with hope and life, all can be replenished. May God do way more than you can ever think or imagine. 🙏🏾

  5. With a heavy heart I send much love and prayers for your strength to get through this.

    Reading this I realize the only thing I could do right now is feel everything that surfaced. Fear. Sadness. Anger. Frustration. Gratitude for the firefighters and good neighbors helping to put the fires out.

    I’d expel and acknowledge all my emotions and take my time until I was ready to sort through, understand and release them.

    Bottling up, ignoring it minimizing emotions only causes festering like an old wound. Best to air them out.


  6. Sending you love and prayers Kevin as you navigate the devastation of the fires. It truly is a heartwrenching experience we know so well where we live in California.
    Take good care and love and hugs.. prayers to you and your loved ones!💖

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