Norfolk couple watch on as major airport fire causes disruption in Kenyan capital of Nairobi

Fire engulf the International arrivals unit of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya,

Fire engulf the International arrivals unit of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 7, 2013. A massive fire engulfed the arrivals hall at Kenya's main international airport early Wednesday, forcing East Africa's largest airport to close and the rerouting of all inbound flights. Dark black smoke that billowed skyward was visible across much of Nairobi as emergency teams battled the blaze. Stranded passengers stood on sidewalks outside the airport with their luggage in hand.(AP Photo/Sayyid Azim) - Credit: AP

A married couple from Norfolk have today been doing their best to avoid the chaos of a major fire at the main international airport in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

People watch dense black smoke billowing from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Ke

People watch dense black smoke billowing from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, early Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2013. Firefighters are battling a large blaze raging at Kenya's main international airport. The Kenya Airports Authority said Wednesday that the airport has been closed until further notice so that emergency teams can battle the fire. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, NO SALES - Credit: AP

Jim and Trudey McGilvray have been working in Nairobi for the last two months, after four years living in the neighbouring east African country of Uganda.

Mr and Mrs McGilvray are the parents of Broadland district councillor Ben McGilvray, who represents Wroxham, Salhouse, Rackheath and Belaugh.

Mr McGilvray works in oil exploration and his wife works in teaching, although they still have a home in Wroxham.

They are living around a 30-minute drive from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), which has made global headlines today after being closed to passengers because of the huge fire.


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'There has been a lot of traffic disruption on the main road north and south through Nairobi,' said Mr McGilvray.

'It was a pretty major fire at the international arrivals gate but the people here are very resourceful and they are going to be operating this evening from another terminal.

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'For aircraft fires they have pretty reasonable service at the airport but for building fires there is not much of a service.

'They ran out of water at one point so that no one was hurt is amazing, but there was probably a lot of luggage lost.'

The small fire broke out at around 5am and wrecked JKIA after the poorly-equipped local fire brigade were slow to react and it turned into a raging inferno.

Some fire engines lacked water and others had no drivers. At one stage uniformed officers lined up with buckets in hand, apparently to fight the blaze which destroyed the arrivals hall of east Africa's largest airport and forced the cancellation of dozens of flights. The airport has now been able to re-open for domestic and cargo services.

The massive fire sent billows of black smoke high into Nairobi's sky. The blaze burned for more than four hours before officials declared it contained, and flames continued to burn two more hours after that.

The fire broke out on the 15th anniversary of the bombings of the US Embassy buildings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, in neighbouring Tanzania, but there were no signs of terrorism in the fire. Kenya's anti-terror police boss, Boniface Mwaniki, said he was waiting for more information before making a judgement.

No serious injuries were reported, although two people were treated for smoke inhalation from the fire.

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