By Paul Mukana
There was a tearful moment in Kagony village, Kisumu county on Saturday afternoon as remains of Caleb Otieno were laid to rest.
Caleb died after accidentally being trapped in a steel mill boiler in Thika barely a fortnight ago.
“He was everything to us,we don’t know how life will go on without him,” Caleb’s father Martin Oraro Ochache narrated to journalists during the requeim mass.
Tears of sorry cascaded down the agonized faces of Caleb’s family members as they watched his remains being lowered in the grave.
It was indeed the lowest ever moment in their lives.
Caleb allegedly melted into ashes when he was trapped by metals in an extremely hot furnace at the boiler of the Blue Nile Roiling Mills in Thika.
According to the family, the horrible news broke on the afternoon of 25th March 2022 when Caleb’s aunt rushed into their compound yelling.
“I wondered what had happened because she’s the one who had taken Caleb to Thika and helped him secure a job.When she has entered the compound, be others joined her in wailing saying that my son was no more,” explained 74 year old Caleb’s father Mr.Martin Oraro Ochache.
The family had a relatively hard juncture trying to come to terms with the cruel reality.
Upon making a phone call in Thika, they were told that Caleb had had an accident that might have costed his life.
“So then, I received another call and I was told that where my son had had the accident, his remains couldn’t be retrieved immediately since the boiler was too hot,” the father added.
Caleb’s body was burnt to ashes and nothing remained of him .
Thika subcounty DCIO Joseph Thuvi had previously confirmed to the media that only ashes and particles were recovered from the deadly furnace.
Infact, the family had to wait for three days in order for the boiler’s temperatures to cool down before they travelled to Thika.
“It has not been easy for us as the family from the expenses during the entire period till we managed to bring the remains home on Friday night,” noted Caleb’s father.
The mood at the funeral was so sombre that majority of Caleb’s family members couldn’t even manage to address mourners as they were engulfed with painful tears.
The coffin only had three small sacks of remains that were retrieved from the boiler.
According to his brother John Agwambo, Caleb was the second born in a family of 7 and he had moved to Thika in 2012 in search for greener pastures.
Part of his eulogy confirmed that Caleb had first worked for Bidco Oil Refineries Limited for 3 years before he moved to Blue Nile Roiling Mills where he has been working until his demise.
“We still have so many issues that deserve being resolved but as for now we want to lay our brother to rest,” said the brother.
According to the eulogy, 34 year old Caleb left the house for work normally on the morning of 25th March.
Whilst executing his duties, his gloves allegedly got stuck on the metals and he was helplessly pulled towards the hotter furnace.
A number of family members and friends have accused the company for negligence and sighted sluggishness and misinformation amid Caleb’s horrible demise.
However, Thika sub-county DCIO Joseph Thuvi maintained that it was just an accident and further investigations are underway.
There has also been a compensation stalemate between the family and the company.
According to the family, the company pledged to pay them only Ksh.420,000 which as per their view is far much too low.
As a matter of fact, a number of top cream lawyers have expressed willingness in helping the family to sue the company for more compensation.
Blue Nile Roiling Mills is a sister company to the Blue Nile Wire Products LTD , a manufacturer of barbed wire.
It is owned by the Blue Nile Group that manufacturers the Kifaru brand of steel products .
It recently announced that it had received KSH.862 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a private lending firm of the world bank, to aid in expanding it’s Thika and Kiambu outlets.