13-03-2021 by Freddie del Curatolo
After almost two years, the nightmare is repeating itself for dozens of house and cottage owners in Malindi.
The Silversand area, just past the Vasco Da Gama monument that kicks off the residential and more holidaying area of Casuarina, around 1pm was shrouded in immense clouds of smoke as flames driven by the kaskazi summer wind, which this year has never stopped blowing vigorously more from the sea than laterally from the coast, attacked makuti roofs. It was in April 2019 when Casuarina burnt across the road and dozens of villas of compatriots went up in ashes.
According to initial reconstructions, the flames allegedly started right from the large residence by the sea, which houses about a hundred flats owned by Italians but also many local Indians and Arabs and Kenyans. Some of them were in the swimming pool or on their verandas when they realised the flames and tried to save their belongings, piling them up on the beach and making sure no one stole them.
The police are already investigating the nature of the fire and arson has not been ruled out, although several witnesses say the flames started in a second-floor flat, possibly due to a faulty gas cylinder.
The Oasis has for years been at the centre of disputes over the ownership of land and 'common parts', but this does not seem to be a reason for the fire.
However, the flames have unfortunately also affected the neighbouring structure, which is part of the complex once known as the Key Group and now divided into several groups of cottages and houses.
The Key Park appears to have suffered the most damage, while the Coral Key, a former resort now used as a residence with private houses, is reported to have been undamaged. The wind-driven flames also tried to attack villas across the road, with staff from neighbouring homes and businesses immediately trying to limit the damage.
The lack of a serious fire brigade obviously increased the potential for damage and once again highlighted the inefficiency of the authorities with regard to fire safety. The first fire brigade to arrive on the scene was the Malindi airport fire brigade and not the city fire brigade, which is only a few hundred metres away from Silversand.
There were also small groups of looters and vandals, especially among the young and very young who arrived from the beach, who instead of helping, jumped into the pool, while others took furniture and other objects from the structures before they were destroyed and tried to take them away, before the police arrived, who were in any case prompt but guarded mainly the part facing the street, also for public order reasons, since there was a large crowd of onlookers. The Oasis staff also turned themselves into a security service in order to keep such incidents to a minimum.
A large fire broke out around 1.30 pm local time in the Coral Key area of Malindi.
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