Tuesday, 25 October 2011

100-yrs-oldwoman, anotherburnt to death• How we watchedthem die –Residents

The death of a 100-year-old
landlady, Mrs. Christiana
Ugutanyin, in a fire incident in
Ajegunle, Lagos, would have been
prevented if electricity supply in
the country was stable. The
inferno also resulted in the death
of one of her tenants, Mrs. Esane
Aburimo while others, including a
little boy, sustained injuries.
Eyewitnesses told the Daily Sun how
the last floor of the one-storey
building went up in
flames,following power surge from
the Power Holding Company of
Nigeria (PHCN) facilities.
Another possible reason for the death of the
old woman was said to be the failure on the
part of the Federal Fire Service and the Lagos
State Fire and Safety Services to arrive the
scene on time.
The inferno, which began at about 11.25 p.m
lasted till about 3 a.m. It was later put off by
officials of the Lagos State Fire and Safety
But by the time the smoke cleared, the
charred remains of the landlady was found.
The old woman, who was restricted to a wheel
chair was said to be sleeping in the bed when
the fire started.
One of her relatives, Mrs. Meregwae
Obiangwere, told the reporter that the
deceased was also suffering from arthritis,
and only moved from the floor to the bed.
Sometimes, she would tell people to assist her.
“They would put her in the wheel chair and
she rolled on the corridor.” The victim, who
hailed from Sagbama Local Government Area
of Bayelsa State, was said to have been
married to a Camerounian, who died many
years ago. The burnt building was said to have
been built by her husband in 1946.
Another eyewitness, Muyiwa Olubukola,
disclosed that another thing which led to the
spread of the fire, was the fact that the
ceiling was made of bamboo. “Immediately the
fire started, it was as if some one poured
petrol on the building. Before anybody
realised what was happening, the whole roof
was on fire. Those, who were able to run,
escaped, while those, especially, the two
women, who were unable, were consumed by
the inferno,” Olubukola said.
A grand child to Mrs. Aburimo, Pere, said he
made efforts to have access to where his
grandmother was sleeping, but to no avail. He
said they could only weep as they made
fruitless efforts to rescue the victims. The
youths in the area almost went on rampage,
when the officials of the Fire Service delayed
to come after several phone calls.
They were so angry suchthat they wanted to
attack the fire fighters, when they eventually
arrived. It took the intervention of the
Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ajegunle
police station, Mr. Abayomi Agbana, and the
Chairman of a vigilance group in the area,
Ade Amusa, to pacify the restive youths.
That was after the fire fighters, who were
prevented from bringing their equipment to
scene, by the angry youths reversed their
vehicle and drove to the police station, to
complain about the attitude of the youths.
Meanwhile, the injured persons, who were
rushed to the hospital are said to be
responding to treatment.

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