Savoy building on fire – again

Several people were injured as one of the oldest buildings in Nairobi, popularly known as Savoy, caught fire yesterday for the second time in as many weeks.

The Savoy Building at Tom Mboya – Ronald Ngala intersection, seen here in better times.

The Savoy Building at Tom Mboya – Ronald Ngala intersection, seen here in better times.

Eyewitnesses told of people jumping from the third floor of the building in scenes reminiscent of September 11. The Savoy Building, whose actual name is Leon House, hosted a restaurant and several high density shops commonly known as, “exhibitions.”

The Nairobi City Council fire brigade, located at the opposite end of Tom Mboya Street arrived, sirens blazing and took control of the situation.

The aging building took its name from the Savoy Casino which operated there for almost a decade until a couple of years ago. The building has undergone extensive remodelling during its life and has accommodated churches, the casino, a photo studio and restaurants. Today, its ground floor is dominated by “exhibitions” where small scale traders sell clothes, mobile phones, scratch cards and jewellery.

The latest fires may just mark the end for the structure and the beginnings of a newer – and safer commercial building.

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