Last week tragedy struck as a family of eight were roasted in a fire that engulfed at 23, Michael Ogun Street, Obele-Lawanson, Surulere, Lagos.
It was gathered that the fire started in Mr. Ali’s self-contained apartment around11:30pm, while the family was asleep. ENCOMIUM Weekly learnt, the cause of the inferno may not be unconnected to the use of candle or lantern since there was no electricity and they did put on their generator.
What could have made the rescue mission ineffective was the obstacle of too many burglary proofs in the apartment. Moreover, there was little or no space in-between the houses and ventilation was inhibited.
ENCOMIUM Weekly gathered that the remains of the burnt family of eight were removed by Lagos State Fire Service who arrived the scene at about 12:15am. Meanwhile neighbours were incapacitated by the burglary proof and darkness.
We were told that there were five families in the compound. The Okon family, Big Daddy family, Mama Sofran family, Papa Amarachi family and the Onoja family. ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with one of the occupants of the building…
Can we meet you?
My name is Emmanuel Okafilize.
What can you say about the incident?
I got a call that something was happening in our compound and that was around 12am. Getting to the scene, the fire had gathered momentum. For me, if the neighbours had come on the street earlier to shout for help, they must have had more people to assist them. Though they tried, there was a limit to what they could do since the apartment was infested with burglary proofs.
When the Lagos State Fire Service came, they were able to stop the inferno and rescued one victim who later died in the hospital.
From your own view, what must be responsible for the inferno?
From the look of things, this may be more of spiritual than what we are seeing in the physical. How could fire eat up an apartment and no other person was affected.
How many people were around at the time of the incident?
Big Daddy was around, including Papa Amarachi’s family, when the incident happened.
What was their response as the fire was raging?
They all tried. All of them came out asking for assistance, but it was too late. Others from other streets came to assist and they did very well.
When did Lagos State Fire Service arrive?
They came around after 12am, but before their arrival, serious damages, had been done. They were the ones that quenched the fire.
Was the affected family using inflammable material like gas cooker in the house?
They do not use gas. They use kerosene stove. So, the fire was not from a gas cooker.
Which part of their flat did the fire start from?
I think it started from the sitting room/parlour.
Does that mean they had all gone to bed then?
Yes, they had all gone to sleep, since there was no light when the fire started. We have every reason to believe they could not locate where they kept the key to the door and everywhere was covered with burglary proofs.
Where are the other tenants?
They are not around. They come once in a while and leave. They have not been stable since the incident.