A massive fire has engulfed the arrivals hall at Kenya's main international airport, forcing the closure of East Africa's largest hub and the re-routing of all inbound flights.
Dark black smoke was visible across much of Nairobi as emergency teams battled the blaze at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, as stranded passengers stood on pavements outside the airport with their luggage in hand.
Reporters at the scene said the fire had gutted the international arrivals hall where passengers pass through immigration and retrieve their luggage. Kenya Airports Authority said the airport had been closed until further notice so emergency teams could battle the fire.
While there were no immediate signs that terrorism played any role in the fire, Kenya's anti-terror police chief, Boniface Mwaniki, said he wanted to wait for the fire to be put out so he could inspect the scene before making any judgment.
Michael Kamau, the cabinet secretary for transport and infrastructure, said the fire began at 5am in the immigration section of the arrivals hall. He said no injuries had been reported. Inbound flights were diverted to the coastal city of Mombasa, he said.
The Kenyan capital's airport is the busiest airport in East Africa and its closure will affect flights throughout the region.
A British passenger, Martyn Collbeck, said he was surprised that the airport was not shut down sooner so emergency vehicles could respond.
"When I arrived there were one or two fire engines parked outside the international arrivals. It spread very fast," said Mr Collbeck, who had been scheduled to fly to London on an early morning KLM flight. "There were a couple of explosions which I think were a couple of gas canisters. I would have expected more fire engines to respond faster."
Barry Fisher, a trade specialist who lives in Nairobi, described the scene as chaos.
"It was huge, the smoke billowing, and it didn't seem to be stopping. There was no one stopping any traffic going to the road to the airport. A number of fire trucks and ambulances were trying to negotiate their way through the lane. They were trying to weave their way through a solid two lanes of cars."