More than 100 families at Mukuru Fuata Nyayo slum in Nairobi South Ward spent Saturday night in the cold after a fire razed their homes.
Victim Sarah Wambui, 48 said the evening fire started in one of the houses and spread quickly to the others.
Residents used piped water to put out the fire as others demolished structures to prevent it from spreading further.
A stone perimeter wall prevented the fire from spreading to a nearby private school.
Security guard Samson Tinega, 42, escaped death by a whisker as he was sleeping at the time.
"Neighbours rushed into my house and rescued me from suffocating," he said.
While noting that congestion hampers the fight against fires in the slum, resident Isaiah Kinyosi asked authorities to build and maintain access roads.
Other residents said people pretending to be good Samaritans stole their property.
A local administrator who did not want to be named said 106 families were affected and that police were investigating the cause of the fire.