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