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Massive fire guts Kenya's main international airport

August 06, 2013|By Robyn Dixon
  • A blaze rages the International arrivals hall at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya on Wednesday. The Kenya Airports Authority said the Kenya's main international airport has been closed until further notice.
A blaze rages the International arrivals hall at Jomo Kenyatta International… (Sayyid Azim / Associated…)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Flames roared through Kenya's major international airport in Nairobi early Wednesday, gutting the entire structure, Kenyan officials said.

Flights were diverted as the main terminal was engulfed in a wall of fire and thick black smoke poured into the sky. The terminal  appeared to have been destroyed.

Kenya's Interior Ministry said on Twitter shortly after 9 a.m. that the fire was under control:

The fire broke out at around 5 a.m., according to local media.

The Kenya Airports Authority reported the fire at dawn on Twitter.

The Daily Nation newspaper reported that fire hydrants at the scene failed and firefighting units lacked adequate water to fight the inferno.

The fire comes in a week that the Kenya Airports Authority has been battling technical problems after a fuel pump problem caused difficulties in refueling jets, forcing some flights to be rerouted to other airports.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived at the airport early Wednesday to assess the situation, which is likely to prove a major blow to the country's crucial tourist industry.

Citizen television cited Kenya Airways Chief Executive Titus Naikuni as saying there would be "a few disruptions" in the airport operation following the fire. He said all passengers were safe.

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