• “The pain is unbearable to see where my son lost his life. I’ve seen a small piece that looks like a tooth. As for the rest, one cannot tell whether it's human remains because most are metal pieces," she said.

PIECES OF MY SON: Consolata Orao, mother to Caleb Otieno who died when he fell into a boiler at a Thika steel mill.
PIECES OF MY SON: Consolata Orao, mother to Caleb Otieno who died when he fell into a boiler at a Thika steel mill.
Image: JOHN KAMAU

Just a tooth, ash and pieces of steel.

That's all that was retrieved from the boiler into which Caleb Otieno fell last Friday at a Thika steel mills. He was just 34.

It was drained after the accident. The body had been liquified and mixed with the contents of the boiler. 

Consolata Orao, Otieno's mother, visited Blue Nile Rolling Mills Ltd on Monday, driving 350km from Kisumu to the mills.

Operations had halted, but the heat was searing and she said she could not imagine how anyone could work under those conditions.

“We’ve seen the area where Caleb was working and it’s very risky with open holes into the boiler," his brother John Agwambo said.

"If you miss a step or you're pushed by metal bars hauled by cranes, you will perish in the boiler just like our brother,” he told the Star later.

If proper safety measures were in place, Caleb would still be alive, the family said.

The family and DCI officers will meet the management on Tuesday.  

The management has not issued a statement about the death. Journalists were barred.

Consolata was hoping something was left of her son, something she could bury at their Kisumu home. There was just a small sack containing ashes and pieces of steel — and what looked like a tooth.

“The pain is unbearable to see where my son lost his life. I’ve seen a small piece that looks like a tooth. As for the rest, one cannot tell whether it's human remains because most are metal pieces," she said.

She was shocked at the working conditions.

“Right now, one cannot withstand the temperatures and yet operations have been stopped. I wonder what it's like when it's operational. Our children are suffering."

She urged authorities to swiftly investigate and ensure the family gets justice.

Agwambo said the family was relieved there was something to bury.

“The boiler has been drained to see if we can get any visible body parts but we have retrieved none," he said.

"We’ve gotten ashes we will preserve at Thika General Kago mortuary. Burial arrangements will begin, then we will places the ashes in a casket and bury them."

DCI took ashes for examination.

“All we want is justice for our brother," he said.

Journalists were barred from the premises.

The firm produces steel and wire products. It has a capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes of steel products and 15,700 metric tonnes of wire products a year.

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