Property of unknown value has been destroyed by an inferno at the Garissa County Assembly.
The fire whose cause is yet to be established is said to have consumed the Assembly chambers and several offices.
According to authorities, the fire started at Hansard offices at around 8.15am, quickly engulfing the chamber and by the time firefighters from Garissa fire department arrived at 9am, the fire had generated to the offices.
Assembly Clerk Mohamud Santur who was at the scene with several Ward representatives said they were able to salvage some important documents.
Some of the offices destroyed by the fire include the auditor’s, payroll, finance, assembly staff, Sacco, committee meeting rooms as well as several chairperson offices other premises at the building, largely made of wooden structures.
According to the Garissa County Assembly Minority Leader Mohamed Ali, the fire has gutted down about 40-50 per cent of the county assembly.
“At the moment we cannot ascertain the cause of the fire. But it has destroyed 40-50 per cent of the County Assembly. The Assembly chambers and a whole building that hosted almost 25 departmental committees and relevant offices are almost completely destroyed,” said the Minority Leader.
It took the Garissa Fire Brigade who are about five kilometers away 45 minutes to arrive at the scene and by then the fire had spread.
Members of the public tried to put off fire using fire extinguishers but their efforts proved futile as the chambers floors are carpeted and the ceiling is made of painted wood.
Some rescuers also helped to push out of the compound a vehicle next to building to avoid being burnt.
A watchman Mohamed Abdi at nearby shops said he saw black smoke emanating from the building and out of curiosity ran into the compound to establish the cause.
“On arriving I found a security officer manning the compound frantically trying to put off the fire. I joined them but we were overwhelmed by the smoke that was choking,” Abdi said.
Joseph Wambua, a bodaboda rider regretted that it took the fire brigade 45 minutes to arrive at the scene.
“This is not the first time the fire brigade have failed us. What is even embarrassing is that they run out of water barely minutes after they arrive. They need to put their house in order,” Wambua said.
Several teams including the military and county fire department are the scene battling to contain the fire.
However, some sources who spoke to The Frontier Post in confidence claimed that it could be a cover up of embezzlement of funds at the County as well as the bad blood between the Governor and the County Assembly administration.