Fire wipes out family of five in Lagos

Fire kills couple, three kids in Lagos shop
• One killed, 16 injured in collapsed building

Afeez Hanafi

Grief pervaded Ogunseye and Dipo Olubi streets , Aguda, Surulere , Lagos State , on Thursday following the tragic death of a family of five in an overnight fire .

The victims were a couple identified only as Hope (wife ) and Hygnius and their three children , Ada , 9 , Nonso , 7 , and six – year- old Ugochukwu.

While the woman and the children died on the spot , Hygnius , who sustained first degree burns , died at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital , Ikeja .

PUNCH Metro learnt that the fire started around 2 am from a makeshift shop on Dipo Olubi Street , where the family resided and spread to three other adjoining shops . Hope also used the shop for laundry service and selling confectionery .

Although the immediate cause of the inferno could not be ascertained , it was said that the sound of explosion was heard from the family ’ s shop shortly after electricity was restored in the area .

During a visit to the community, our correspondent saw burnt clothes , washing machine , and refrigerator , among other burnt household items .

The Chairman , Ogunseye Residents Association, Mr . Gbenga Orimolade , said his wife drew his attention to the incident some minutes after 2 am .

Orimolade stated that men of the Lagos State Fire Service and the state emergency management agency joined residents to extinguish the fire around 3 am .

He said , “I came out immediately my wife woke me up . Other residents also came out and we tried to put out the fire .

“ Firefighters responded about 20 minutes after the fire started to assist us . We could not rescue the mother and her children . The husband died in the afternoon at LASUTH .

“ I don ’ t know what caused the fire , but it started 10 minutes after power was restored . The couple were from the East ; we have been trying to reach their family . ”

An eyewitness , who gave his name only as Chibuzor, said , “ The fire was caused by electrical fault . The security men said they heard an explosion from the shop. It was very unfortunate . Hope was energetic and was the one making all the money for the family . ”

Another resident , Abiodun Adegoke , told PUNCH Metro that he was informed about the incident on the telephone .

Adegoke said , “ We could not salvage anything from the wreckage . I saw burnt flesh . I learnt that the couple had initially come out of the shop . The woman went back to save the children , but was burnt to death together with them. The husband also attempted to rescue them .

“ She was intelligent and responsible. She just paid about N100 , 000 for the school fees of all the three children . It was very tragic . ”

The Director, Lagos State Fire Service , Mr . Rasaq Fadipe, who confirmed the deaths , urged residents to promptly alert the fire service whenever there was any fire incident .

“ It might be that the laundry machine was faulty . People should make sure that their appliances are put off while going to sleep, ” he added .

The General Manager , Lagos State Emergency Management Agency , Mr . Adeshina Tiamiyu, said the agency received a distress call from the community around 2 . 38 am and responded promptly .

He said , “ This prompted the immediate activation of the Lagos State Fire Service and LASEMA ’ s Emergency Response Team to the scene of the incident . Investigation conducted by the ERT at the scene of the incident revealed that the cause of the fire could not be ascertained . Further information revealed that the fire affected four shops .

“ A family , which comprised the father , mother and three children sleeping in one of the shops , were affected by the fire . The corpses were recovered and handed over to the police at the Aguda Police Station .

“ The timely intervention of the agency and the fire service prevented the fire from escalating to other nearby buildings. ”

Meanwhile , a three- storeyed building under construction on Richard Abimbola Street, Ilasamaja, Lagos State , has collapsed , with several persons trapped in the wreckage while one person died .

It was learnt that the incident happened around 2 pm .

A resident , who gave his name only as Ifeanyi said the construction of the building started six months ago .

“ But surprisingly , early this month , I noticed that it had been built to that level . Six persons were brought out from the wreckage in my presence . They sustained injuries, ” he said .

One of the victims , a bricklayer , Ope Falola , who had minor bruises , said he was at the back of the building when the structure caved in .

He said , “ My phone battery was flat and I was trying to look for where to charge it. I was walking along the back of the building when it suddenly collapsed . Three of my friends were also trapped and sustained injuries. ”

Another worker, Tosin Olaniyi , said , “ I was working on the fence of the building with three others. I just heard a bang and the building came down on us . There was no sign that the building was distressed . ”

The LASEMA General Manager , Tiamiyu , said 16 persons working on the site were injured and had been taken to hospitals.

He said , “ A number of labourers were doing their various works at different areas . Sixteen of them have been rescued and some are being treated by the agency ’ s medical team and Lagos State Ambulance Service , while some had been rushed to hospitals.

“ Extraction of trapped victims is ongoing and one mortality has been recorded at the moment (10 pm on Thursday ). ”

Source: The Punch 


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