Massive Fire Shuts Down Main International Airport in Kenyan Capital

Published:5:00 am EDT, August 7, 2013| Updated:7:26 am EDT, August 7, 2013|
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Nairobi, Nairobi Airport Fire

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Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya was shut down Wednesday after a huge fire broke out in its arrivals unit, reports the Daily Nation.

The fire broke out around 5 a.m. local time and a combined fire brigade was still battling it three hours later, but was eventually contained the blaze. The airport was cordoned off by the paramilitary General Service Unit (GSU) and its air operations have been suspended. Many incoming flights were diverted to the Indian Ocean coastal city of Mombasa with only emergency landings permitted.

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There were no immediate reports of any casualties and the cause of the fire is still undetermined.

The fire happened on the anniversary of the 1998 coordinated bombings of United States Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and killed more than 200 people, but Kenya’s antiterror police boss, Boniface Mwaniki, said he wanted to wait until the fire was extinguished to determine if any terrorism was involved.

A witness said they heard a couple of explosions at the scene.

‚ÄúWhen I arrived, there were one or two fire engines parked outside the international arrivals," said British passenger, Martyn Collbeck, who had been scheduled to fly back to London on an early morning KLM flight. "It spread very fast,‚ÄĚ said Collbeck. ‚ÄúThere were a couple of explosions, which I think were a couple of gas canisters.‚ÄĚ

The airport is one of East Africa’s busiest transportation hubs.

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