Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Tragedy struck in the early hours of yesterday in Ibadan as three children of the same parents were burnt to death at their residence situated at the last bus-stop, behind Ibadan Grammar School, Molete, Ibadan.
THISDAY learnt that the children died in the fire when neither of their parents, Tunde Emmanuel and mother, Christiana were around. The victims were identified as Glory,14, Samuel, 8, and Darasimi, 3.
It was gathered that one of the parents, before leaving the house, reportedly locked the door to the room and parlour apartment they live with padlock from outside, which prevented the children from opening the door and probably escaping when the fire started.
It was further gathered that the fire incident began few minutes to 1:00a.m. yesterday, and also razed some of the other rooms in the eight-room face-to-face building while a night guard in the area was said to have raised the alarm and alerted people in the community to the inferno.
Though the cause of the fire incident has not been ascertained, some sources said it began as a result of spark from electricity supply, while other sources said candle might have been responsible for the fire outbreak.
During a visit to the scene, two single-face gas cookers that had been razed were sighted while sources said the police had evacuated the remains of the three deceased children.
The people living in the same building with the Emmanuel reportedly made efforts to rescue the trapped children, but the fire was fiercely burning with heavy smoke which impaled visibility..
One of the occupants of the building whose room was also gutted by the fire and identified himself simply as Adeola while speaking on the incident, said, “We were all sleeping when the night guards called our attention to the fire incident from outside around few minutes to 1:00 a.m. We were shocked and we ran for safety only to realise that the children of Mr. Tunde and Mrs. Christiana Emmanuel; Glory, Samuel and the youngest Darasimi, were locked inside their room.
“Then, people made efforts to rescue them and somehow quench the fire with water. But this was not enough as the fire kept on blaring. Glory attempted to escape and possibly rescue his other siblings, but the door was locked from outside with a big padlock.
“As much as neighbours attempted to rescue them, they were kept away by the force of the fire before things turned awry. The water we were trying to use seemed like fuelling it the more.
“The fire fighters had difficulties getting here because most gates leading to this area had been locked. So, it was tasking getting here on time, though their efforts with two trucks of water eventually quenched it.”
It was also gathered that the father of the deceased children, Tunde, was on a night duty in the neighbourhood, while the mother was also on a night duty in her place of work.
The father reportedly got information about the fire outbreak where he was and rushed to his residence but on getting there, he was told that his three children had been burnt to death and he reportedly ran away immediately and nobody knew his whereabouts.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Olugbenga Fadeyi, who confirmed the incident, said the police have commenced investigation to the cause of the fire incident.