Tragedy struck in the Ikotun area of Lagos State on Tuesday after a sailor, Okodeion Oseghale, 47, and an 18-year-old girl, Ngozi Egbujor, were burnt to death in a fireoutbreak.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the incident happened around 2am on Authority Avenue, Ile Iwe.
The fire was reportedly caused by an electrical surge in the apartment of the victims.
Our correspondent learnt that the teenage victim was the sister of Okodeion’s wife, Adah, and had been living with the family for some time.
She had travelled to the village and returned a day before the incident.
Okodeion, an indigene of Edo State, was also said to have been away from his family for over two years due to the nature of his job and had returned home in March for a professional course.
The two victims were said to be burnt to death, while the family’s two children and wife, escaped with injuries.
When our correspondent visited the area, he observed that the fire gutted the top floor of the one-storey building where the Oseghales occupied a three-bedroom flat.
A neighbour, who identified herself simply as Kate, said she was preparing to sleep when the fire started.
She said, “My elder sister had been sick and my family had been observing prayer and fasting for her.
“Because of that, I couldn’t sleep early last night. But as I was planning to go to bed around 2am, I heard people shouting, ‘fire, fire’.
“I rushed inside my room and picked my certificates, phones and rushed out.
“I sighted the man’s wife with the two kids on their balcony shouting for help. The fire was raging in their sitting room.”
Our correspondent learnt that Okodeion was in the master’s bedroom, while Egbujor was sleeping in her room when the fire started.
Our correspondent gathered that Okodeion ran to the electricity meter to disconnect the power, but he was electrocuted.
A neighbour, whose apartment is directly under the Oseghales, Mrs. Abiodun Okusanya, said she was asleep when a sudden thud woke her up.
The thud was said to be the fall of the 47-year-old.
She said, “I heard the man’s wife shouting, ‘fire, fire, help, help’. There was confusion everywhere.”
Everybody in the neighbourhood was said to have rushed out, leaving the Oseghales, who were still trapped in the building.
A security man on the street was also said to have alerted men of the Lagos State Fire Service.
The firemen reportedly responded promptly and broke through the wall to bring out Adah and the children.
The Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe said two fire trucks were deployed in the scene.
He said, “We received the call at 2.47am. Fire trucks from Ikotun and Agege were sent there. It was a storey building of four flats.
“We broke the wall to rescue the mother and two children.
“While fighting the fire, we discovered that the head of the family was on the floor, close to the door, while the second person was on the bed. Both were dead.”
He said the fire was caused by electrical surge, adding that the corpses of the victims had been handed over to policemen from the Ikotun station.
They were later deposited in a mortuary in Igando.
Our correspondent gathered that the survivors were rushed to a private hospital from where they were taken to the house of a relative on Abbey Street, Hostel bus stop, which is a few kilometres away.
When PUNCH Metro visited the place, he met Mrs. Oseghale on the bed, with bruises on her back and legs.
She told our correspondent her life would never remain the same again, adding, “I don’t know if I can survive this.”
She said, “The fire is still a mystery to me. It is not ordinary because before we went to bed, I had switched off all the appliances as I always did.
“We had even gone to bed at 11.11pm. We discovered the fire was burning around 2am. It started from the sitting room.
“The entrance door was filled with smoke and I just managed to get my kids out through the big space in the burglary window. I tore the net to smuggle them out. I was brought out through the wall.”
She appealed to the state government and Nigerians to help the family.
The kids – Ofure (nine years old) and Oseme (six years old) – sustained injuries in their hands and buttocks.
The General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Femi Oke-Osanyintolu, said the government would assist the victims.
He said, “We condole with the family that lost their people. We will do our best to help them at this trying times. We will also conduct integrity tests on the structure to know if it is still habitable.”
Photo Credits: SAMSON FOLARIN