Three children, including an infant, who were trapped in their house, were on Wednesday burnt to death when fire razed the top floor of block 54 located at Jakande Estate, along the Mile 2 area of Lagos.
Although the names of the deceased children were yet to be identified, THISDAY gathered that the fire was finally put out by the state fire service, but before then the 10 and seven years-old teenagers had been burnt beyond recognition, alongside their six months-old sibling.
According to eyewitness account, the bereaved mother had locked up the kids in the house late in the night and stepped down to her shop, but left a candle on, only to come back and meet the block of flat in flames.
The fire, which started little, was said to have snowballed into flames before a passerby who raised an alarm attracted neighbours.
Although the father tried all possible best to rescue his kids, the flame of the fire was said to have overpowered him as he watched helplessly alongside with his wife whilst the flat burnt.
Confirming the incident, the Public Relations Officer of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), South-west Zone, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, said the fire, which started about midnight, destroyed the top floor of block 56 at Jakande Estate, where the two teenagers and infant lived.
“Two teenagers and an infant of the same parent were burnt to death in a fire incident that started around 12:30am on Wednesday. The fire service came to the rescue as soon as the incident was reported to the organisation but unfortunately, the children died in the inferno.”
Some of the residents said the fire could have been contained if the fire service had come a little bit earlier.
One of the residents who spoke on anonymity said, “When we noticed the fire, we tried our possible best to put it out, especially when we learnt there were three kids in that building.
“But our best was not good enough. And already, we had called the emergency numbers but they were not fast enough. When the two fire trucks from the Fire Service got here, the fire was still raging but the kids were dead.
“It took almost one hour after we called in that the Fire Service came to our rescue even though they kept assuring us they were on their way. It was disastrous.”
As at press time, the police had taken the corpses away to the nearest morgue, pending when they would be claimed for burial.
Attempts to contact the state police public relations officer, DSP Kenneth Nwosu, about the news making the rounds that the bereaved mother, out of heartbreak allegedly committed suicide, proved abortive as he didn’t take his calls.