New fire at Nairobi airport after large parts destroyed in massive blaze

Updated 8:53 PM EDT, Wed August 7, 2013

Story highlights

NEW: The fire appears to restart early Thursday in the arrivals area

NEW: A CNN correspondent sees smoke and a small fire that seems to be growing

Wednesday's fire at Nairobi's airport destroyed large parts of the international terminal

No casualties have been reported

CNN —  

A fire that shut down and extensively damaged Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Airport – a major travel hub in Africa that is crucial to Kenya’s export industry – appeared to have restarted early Thursday.

CNN Correspondent Nima Elbagir saw smoke behind the arrivals area and a small fire that seemed to be getting bigger.

There was no immediate word from authorities about the new fire.

Large parts of the international terminal were destroyed by the massive blaze that broke out before dawn Wednesday. The fire engulfed the terminal, Ken Mijungu of CNN affiliate NTV reported, before firefighters got it under control.

No casualties were reported. Authorities later said the fire was contained, and domestic flights resumed in the afternoon.

Video from NTV in the aftermath showed the burned-out interior of the international arrivals section with the roof caved in.

International arrivals were supposed to resume Thursday from a different part of the airport, according to Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau, but it wasn’t clear how the rekindled fire Thursday morning would affect them.

There was no information about when departures would begin.

The blaze could have a serious impact on the flow of tourists into the country and the export of agricultural products. Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, is a major travel hub in Africa, and fresh fruits and vegetables are exported from there to Europe by plane many times a week.

President Uhuru Kenyatta visited the scene Wednesday and reassured the aviation industry and local and international travelers that everything was being done to get back to normal, Secretary of Communications Manoah Esipisu said.

“To the thousands of passengers, including tourists, whose journeys were disrupted, the president shares your concerns and regrets the inconvenience. We are concerned that the incident interrupted travelers’ schedules and appreciate that they are being routed to their destinations as soon as is possible,” Esipisu said in a statement.

Some witnesses said the fire began in the customs section, but others said it started in the duty-free area, parts of which were demolished for construction last week, Mijungu reported.

“The cause of the fire is being investigated. There is no reason to speculate at this point. There was no loss of life,” Esipisu said.

The blaze occurred on the 15th anniversary of the fatal terrorist attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

It also came days after the United States issued a worldwide travel alert and closed a number of embassies and consulates in large areas of the Middle East and Africa, though not in Kenya or Tanzania.

In the 1998 near-simultaneous attacks, 224 people died and about 4,500 were wounded.

CNN’s Brian Walker and Joseph Netto in Atlanta, CNN’s Kim Norgaard in Johannesburg and Journalist Florence Obondo contributed to this report.