"Kenya Gasoline Blast Kills at Least 61"

"Nairobi, Kenya, and Johannesburg -- More than 60 people died Monday in a densely populated Nairobi slum after an explosion and fire caused by gasoline from a leaking pipe. At least 116 badly burned people, many of them children, were taken to hospitals. Many were not expected to survive, as medical staff struggled with shortages of blood for transfusions."

"Witnesses described a scene from hell: charred bodies strewn around the area and floating in a nearby river, where burning people had jumped into the water to extinguish flames.

Officials said 61 bodies had been recovered, with the death toll likely to rise. The Associated Press quoted officials with the International Committee of the Red Cross as saying the toll was at least 75, and local radio reports said at least 102.

The precise number of dead and their identities may never be known. Some people were so badly burned that only skeletons remained.

The blast occurred in the Sinai slum district about 9 a.m., after fuel leaked from a depot owned by Kenya Pipeline Co. and through a drain pipe into a river, residents said. At dawn, the smell of gasoline rising from the gutters sent residents scurrying for buckets and jerrycans to collect the spilled fuel.

The cause of the blast, which ignited a fire that tore through shacks in the crowded shantytown, wasn't immediately known. Police suspected that a cigarette butt thrown near the spilled fuel may have sparked the inferno."

Nicholas Soi and Robyn Dixon report for the Los Angeles Times September 13, 2011.

SEE ALSO:

"Nairobi Pipeline Fire Claims More Than 100 Lives" (ENS)

"Scores Dead in Kenyan Pipeline Fire" (New York Times)

Source: LA Times, 09/13/2011