22 January 2012

Kenya: Fire Guts Mombasa Airport VIP Lounge

A fierce fire gutted down the Moi International Airport VIP lounge in Mombasa on Sunday morning causing damages worth million of shillings.

The airport manager Yatich Kangugo said the blaze was caused by an air conditioner which exploded due to electrical problems.

He noted that the fire engulfed the luxurious facility destroying state of the art furniture and furnishings among other items which were just installed in December last year.

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) official added that normally the lounge operates three air-conditioners but on Sunday only two were operational as the other was not functional.

"The fire was caused by an air-conditioner explosion as it seems the two functioning air conditioners were overstretched by power," he said.

"Normally we do operate three air conditioners but yesterday (Saturday) one of them was not functioning. We suspect the two were overloaded," he explained.

Mr Kangugo who spoke to the Nation on phone from Nairobi said the destruction of the VIP lounge was a blow since KAA just concluded the renovation of the facility on December 27 last year.

He however said the incident did not interfere with airport activities, adding that passengers were able to travel without any hitches.

"The fire incident on the lounge did not affect the airport operations. Passengers were able to jet out or in as the blaze affected the VIP lounge only," he explained.

The KAA official said nobody was injured in the incident as there were no VIPs in the lounge when the fire broke out.

He assured travellers that all was well and appealed to them to continue with their travel arrangements.

At the Airport, the glass fittings that were recently replaced during a refurbishment to upgrade the facility were shattered and the debris strewn on the ground.

When the Nation team visited the airport, KAA Operations Manager Jedi Soletei -Masibo said the fire occurred shortly after 10am.

Ms Masibo said the KAA fire brigade with the assistance from the Mombasa Municipal Council fire engines battled bravely and managed to put out the blaze in less than half an hour.

"The quick action by the fire-fighters prevented the fire from spreading to other parts of the Airport," she said.

Ms Masibo assured the public that the morning incident that occurred at Terminal 2 had not affected the operations at the Airport and activities were going on as normal.

"We have fixed the situation and work is proceeding without a hitch after this unfortunate incident that is still being investigated," she said.

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