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How parents, three children died in inferno

The scene of the fire

Tragedy struck yesterday morning as father, mother and their three children were burnt to death inside their shop at Surulere area of Lagos State.

Eyewitnesses in the area said the father, who who would have remain the only survivor of the inferno, finally died around 1p.m. at the hospital where he was rushed to due to the severed burns on his body.

The incident, which occurred around 2a.m. at Ogunleye Street, off Adekunle Kuye Street, Kilo Bus Stop, Surulere, threw the entire community into mourning.

The woman, identified as Hope, her nine-year-old daughter, Chukwuka and two sons, Nonso, aged seven, and Ugochukwu, aged six, were burnt beyond recognition.

Hope’s husband, Ignacious, said to be the owner of the laundry service shop they slept in, sustained serious injuries before passing on at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).

Some residents were seen gathered at the scene of the incident, mourning the departed victims.

When The Guardian visited the scene yesterday, it was gathered that the family of five were caught in the fire while sleeping in their shop.

According to a security guard, Salisu Ibrahim, “I was in the compound of the house where I work as guard when I saw the flames. Immediately, I rushed out to rescue the family from the burning fire. Before I got to the place, I was calling for help so that other residents could come out and join hands with me to assist them.

“While I was shouting for help, my colleagues came out of their houses. Before we got there, the father was already on the street screaming and rolling on the floor. Few minutes later, his wife also came out.”

Ibrahim said barely two minutes after the woman came out of the fire, she shouted the names of her children and went back into the house to rescue them but collapsed and died while rescuing them.

It was gathered that the fire that spread from the victim’s shop burning all goods also affected the shop close to the deceased’s.

Another resident, who simply identified herself as Justina said the eldest daughter of the victim was supposed to receive her scholarship certificate, awarded her by the Lagos State government yesterday.

She said: “The man’s daughter is very brilliant, she was given a scholarship by the state government, and she was supposed to get her certificate by 12noon on Thursday from her school principal but now they are no more. Life is a vanity world.

“The children would have survived the incident had it been that fire service operatives arrived the scene on time. Before the residents could rescue the victims, they had suffocated to death. The deceased’s burnt skin littered the floor.”

Confirming the incident, the Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, said the fire started in the early hours of yesterday. He added that several shops were razed by the inferno. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.

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