Up-close video shows the severity of the Nairobi airport fire


A firefighter walks among the debris after a fire damaged a terminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport in Nairobi. (Tony Karumba/AFP)

Kenya’s main airport was still smoking this morning, hours after firefighters put out the massive blaze that badly damaged the facility and, for the short term at least, travel and trade in East Africa.

Details of the fire — including the all-important question of what caused it — are still coming out, as The Post’s Sudarsan Raghavan reports from Nairobi. But a series of videos from Kenya’s Kiss TV News gives a pretty clear scope of the damage to the airport’s international terminal. Here's the first, showing the terminal still on fire:

The videos, uploaded around 11 a.m. Nairobi time, show the halting progression of the blaze, from the point when flames and smoke began to stream out of the international terminal to the eventual arrival of firefighters and onlookers. The third clip seems to show a problem much-discussed in Kenya today: Spectators crowd the four-lane street in front of the terminal, even blocking access to cars (you can hear one honking at the eight-second mark) — but from the cameraman’s vantage, at least, there are no firetrucks to be seen. According to witnesses, firefighters arrived late and appeared to lack equipment.

A final video shows the building throwing off huge plumes of black smoke, even after most of the flames had gone out.

Since then, photos from the scene — including these striking Instagrams by journalist Tristan McConnell — show a smoking, hollowed-out terminal filled with debris. That could spell bad news not only for Nairobi, but for much of East Africa. The airport is the busiest in the region, and tourism is a major source of revenue for Kenya.

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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