A huge gas blast in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, has killed at least three people and injured nearly 300.
A lorry carrying gas exploded in Embakasi district at about 23:30 (20:30 GMT), “igniting a huge ball of fire”, a government spokesperson said.
Housing, businesses and cars were damaged, with video showing a huge blaze raging close to blocks of flats.
The area has been cordoned off and an investigation is under way into the cause of the explosion.
The government initially said the blast happened at a gas plant where workers were refilling gas cylinders but later clarified that a truck had exploded in its parking yard.
The fire that broke out as a result is reported to have been contained.
Embakasi police chief Wesley Kimeto said a child was among those who died, adding that the death toll could rise.
The Kenya Red Cross said it had taken 271 people to hospital. A further 27 people who were treated on site were later allowed to go home.
Its Head of Disaster Operations, Vanant Ndhingila, told the BBC’s Newsday programme that a search and rescue operation was under way. They are trying to find out if people are missing or have simply taken shelter elsewhere.
“There is still a search going on of whether there are bodies which have been burnt in various houses,” said Embakasi East MP Babu Owino.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) said in a statement that the gas plant was illegal and that it had rejected three applications for construction permits to build a storage and filling facility at the site.
The fireball from the blast had “spread widely”, according to government spokesman Isaac Mwaura Mwaura, and a flying gas cylinder had hit a clothing and textiles warehouse, burning it down.
“The inferno further damaged several vehicles and commercial properties, including many small and medium sized businesses,” he said in a statement.
“Sadly, residential houses in the neighbourhood also caught fire, with a good number of residents still inside, as it was late at night.”
Witnesses told local media they had felt tremors immediately after the blast.
Many of the injured are said to have inhalation injuries and they include at least 25 children, the Standard newspaper reported.
One of those hurt, Boniface Sifuna, described what had happened to Reuters news agency: “I got burnt by an exploding gas canister as I was trying to escape,” he said.
“It exploded right in front of me and the impact knocked me down and the flames engulfed me. I am lucky that I was strong enough to get away.”
James Ngoge, who lives across the street from where the blast happened, told the AFP news agency that he was in his house at the time and “heard a huge explosion”.
“It felt like it was going to collapse. At first, we didn’t even know what was happening, it was like an earthquake.
“I have a business on the road that was completely destroyed.”
Government spokesman Mr Mwaura said the blast scene had been secured and a command centre had been set up to help co-ordinate rescue operations.
“Kenyans are hereby advised to keep off the cordoned area in order to allow the rescue mission to be carried out [with] minimal disruptions,” he added.