In Limbo: Massive Fire Strands Md. Aid Workers At Kenyan Airport
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Trapped in Kenya. A massive fire at the Nairobi Airport strands nearly a dozen Marylanders on aid trips to Africa.
Now investigators are looking into whether the fire was accidental, or something more sinister.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the investigation.
The fire happened on the 15th anniversary of the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Kenya. But authorities say at this point, they don’t believe the fire was a terror attack.
An inferno tears through the airport in Nairobi, Kenya. Within 30 minutes, passengers say the entire arrivals area at the international terminal was engulfed.
“As we came in, we saw people running. We saw fire brigades moving in and we obviously knew something was wrong,” said Adrian Adams, passenger.
It took hours for rescue workers to control the raging fire.
“That black smoke was as big as my building here,” said Sue Snyder.
Snyder has been glued to the coverage. Her 22-year-old son, J.D., is in Kenya, building a home for a family with Habitat for Humanity Susquehanna.
His group was on the way to the Nairobi Airport when the fire sparked.
“My first thought was ‘Who blew this up?’ I mean, they’re still not saying whether they know this was somebody or not, so that’s scary too,” Snyder said.
All 10 Maryland volunteers–now in limbo–are stuck in a hotel, hoping for a flight back home.
“At this point they don’t know when. But they’re safe, they’re happy and they’re just waiting,” said Karen Blandford, Habitat for Humanity.
The Harford County group is not the only Maryland aid workers impacted by the fire.
Katie Price with Catholic Relief Services based in Baltimore had just landed at the airport and was on the tarmac. She tells the Washington Post she was watching the fire get bigger and bigger. She says it looked like the entire terminal would be gone.
Much of the international terminal is now destroyed, crippling air traffic across the region.
The Habitat for Humanity group has been told they will most likely get out of the country within the next 72 hours.
No one was killed in the fire. Two people were treated for smoke inhalation.