Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
A midnight fire that gutted Tolory area of Railway Quarters, Enugu North Local Government, Enugu State has left a four-year-old girl dead and seven houses burnt.
But for the prompt intervention of the state fire service, the entire neighbourhood would have gone up in flames due to the setting of the area.
It was gathered that the early-hour inferno was the second in the Railway Quarters in three weeks with the first allegedly claiming over 20 houses.
Our correspondent gathered that the mother of the victim identified as Chinechereme, Mrs. Nwanneka Igbo had in the midst of the confusion created by the fire outbreak pulled her and two other of her siblings to a safer place and went back to assist her husband Emeka to secure their property.
Unknown to the couple the little Chinecherem walked back following the mother to their house but due to the heavy smoke that engulfed the entire area, she missed her way and entered into another apartment where she, unfortunately, she met her death as she was burnt beyond recognition.
On return to the place she had left the children, Mrs. Igbo discovered that Chinecherem was no more there and began to search for her.
She was said to have felt that she might have been taken by someone else to a safer location but got the shock of her life when her charred body was found in another apartment after the fire was finally put out.
Speaking to newsmen at the scene of the incident, a leader in the neighbourhood, Julius Igbokwe, while describing the inferno as regrettable, disclosed that it was caused by a candle that was lit by a nursing mother due to lack of electricity light.
He said: “We were told that the woman slept off and the candle fell down, caught fire and the rest is now the story.”
Confirming the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Daniel Ndukwe (ASP) said the command had received the report and had commenced investigations to ascertain the actual cause of the inferno.