Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Three children of the same father and mother were in the early hours of Friday January 3, 2020 burnt to death at their residence situated at the last bust stop, behind Ibadan Grammar School, Molete, Ibadan.
The names of the children were given as Glory,14, Samuel, 8, and Darasimi,3. The disaster was said to have occurred when their father, Tunde Emmanuel, and mother, Christiana, were not around.
One of the parents, before living the house, reportedly locked the door to the room and parlour apartment they live in with padlock from outside, which prevented the children from opening the door and probably escape when the fire started.
As gathered, the fire incident began few minutes to 1am on Friday, and also razed some of the other rooms in the eight-room tenement building. 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 others said candle light might have been responsible for the fire outbreak.
When journalists visited the scene on Friday, two single-face gas cookers that had been razed were sighted. The police, according to sources, had evacuated the remains of the three children.
The people living in the same building with the Emmanuels reportedly made efforts to rescue the trapped children, but the fire was raging in the room with heavy smoke, which prevented them.
One of the occupants of the building, whose room also got burnt, Adeola, said: “We were all sleeping when the night guards called our attention to the fire incident from outside around few minutes to 1a.m. We were shocked and we ran for safety only to realise that the children of Mr Tunde and Mrs Christianah Emmanuel; Glory, Samuel and the youngest Darasimi, were locked inside their room.
“Then, people made efforts to rescue them and somehow put out 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 helped.”
Father of the deceased children, Tunde, was said to have been on a night duty in the neighbourhood, while the mother, sources said, 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. 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 at the time journalists visited the scene.
Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer for Oyo State Command, Mr. Olugbenga Fadeyi, confirmed the incident, saying: “On 3rd January 2020, at the early hours, there was a fire incident at No 6, Orisunbare street, Eyin Grammar Ibadan where three children, Glory Emmanuel, female, aged 14 years; Samuel Emmanuel, male, aged eight years; and Darasimi Emmanuel, female, aged three years of the same mother were burnt to death in a eight-room apartment. The police have commenced investigation as to the cause of the fire incident.”