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EPRA sheds light on gas facility that exploded in Embakasi, Nairobi

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) has issued a statement regarding the deadly LPG explosion in Embakasi, Nairobi on the evening of Thursday, February 1, 2024.

EPRA Director General Daniel Kiptoo

The incident has left the community in mourning, with 3 lives lost and over 300 injured.

EPRA, acting as the energy sector's watchdog, revealed that applications for construction permits for an LPG storage and filling plant on the site were submitted on three occasions in 2023 but were subsequently rejected.

The authority highlighted that the proposed plans failed to meet the critical safety standards required for such a facility, particularly concerning the necessary safety distances as dictated by the Kenya Standard.

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The high population density around the proposed site was a significant concern, prompting the EPRA to request a Qualitative Risk Assessment (QRA) from the applicant.

This assessment, necessary to understand the potential impact of an explosion, was never provided, leading to the rejection of the permit applications.

In response to this tragic incident, the EPRA has outlined a series of actions aimed at enhancing the safety of LPG plants across the country.

These measures include conducting detailed technical audits of all licensed LPG plants to ensure they uphold the highest safety integrity in terms of health, safety, security, and environment (HSSE) standards.

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The regulatory body has made it clear that licenses for plants failing to meet these standards will be revoked, and it will not hesitate to demolish illegal operations and address malpractices within the sector.

This explosion not only sheds light on the critical need for stringent regulatory compliance but also serves as a somber reminder of the potential dangers posed by neglecting such regulations.

Police have arrested a watchman following the explosion, which occurred in Embakasi on Thursday night near a residential area, killing 3 people and injuring about 271 others.

The watchman, tasked with guarding the premises where the gas-laden lorry was stationed, was apprehended by DCI detectives.

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The focus of the investigation also extends to two mechanics, who residents claim were seen repairing a broken-down car close to the site of the explosion.

Residents reportedly raised alarm about a gas leak in the area.

Despite warnings about the risks of repairing the vehicle in the presence of a gas leak, the mechanics proceeded, leading to the fatal explosion.

Deputy IG Douglas Kanja said that the DCI will release a report on the investigations in 14 days.

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