By Evelyn Usman
LAGOS—Residents of Ogunleye Street, off Adekunle Kuye, Surulere, Lagos, were, yesterday, thrown into mourning after a couple and three children died in a fire that engulfed the shop they used as home.
Three other shops were also destroyed in the inferno.
The exact cause of the fire could not be ascertained, but Vanguard gathered that it started at about 2.38a.m. from one of the shops. It then spread to the shop where a man, identified simply as Ignatius, and his family lived in.
Ignatius, according to eyewitnesses, broke down the door of the shop, which he also used for laundry services, and ran out in flame. His wife, Hope, who was also on fire, ran out. Neighbours put out the fire on them.
However, Hope, who was in pains, dashed back into the raging fire, unnoticed, when her children kept crying for help. But she was burnt to death with the children— Chukwuka, 9; Nonso, 7, and Ugochukwu, 6.
Meanwhile, Ignatius, said to have been severely burnt, was rushed to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, where he later died.
Neighbours narrate incident
A private guard in the area, Salisu Ibrahim, told Vanguard: “I was in my cubicle when I saw smoke. I rushed out, only to discover that it was from the shops on B23. I alerted my colleagues and by the time we got there, we saw the dry cleaner screaming and rolling on the floor to put out the fire on him.
“Immediately his wife came out, she asked ‘where are my children?’ Before we knew it, she ran back inside. Nobody could do anything because the fire was much.”
Another resident, who gave her name as Mrs Modecai, disclosed that one of the children, Chukwuemeka, was a beneficiary of the Lagos State Government scholarship.
She said: “ Chukwuemeka was supposed to get her certificate from her school principal today (yesterday). Had help come on time, they would have survived.”
Confirming the incident, General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Mr. Adesina Tiamiyu, said: “The Agency’s Emergency Response Team, ERT, received a distress call via our emergency number, concerning a fire outbreak yesterday at about 2:38a.m.
“This prompted the immediate activation of the Lagos State Fire Service and Agency’s ERT to the scene of the incident, which prevented the fire from spreading to nearby buildings.
“The agencies’ operatives handed over the charred remains of the family members to the police at Aguda Division.”