Three children were roasted yesterday in a fire outbreak that occurred at Jakande Housing Estate, Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos.
The incident happened at about 3am at a Mechanic Village in the area.
The fire, not only consumed the three girls, Christiana (12), Pelumi (5) and Feranmi (3), but also ravaged three cars, more than eight shops, including a building.
The fire, according to eye witnesses, was triggered by a head on collision between a LT27 bus loaded with jerry cans that were filled with fuel and a 14-seater commuter bus parked along the street. The impact of the collision dragged the commuter bus from its spot, colliding with a stationary Toyota truck also packed in front of the line of affected shops on No 14, Rainbow Street LSDPC, Estate Oke-Afa, Isolo.
Residents blamed the incident on the indiscriminate chase of the driver of the LT27 bus by some policemen.
It was gathered that in his bid to escape from the police, the driver of the bus accidentally ran into the stationary bus packed beside the road which led to the fire outbreak.
The girls, who were of the same mother, were said to have been sleeping in one of the shops.
The Nation gathered that the heartbroken mother of the four children was only able to save her son whom she took along with her. There were conflicting reports on the exact reason why the kids were left alone overnight by their mother, who is popularly called Mama Faranmi, in room connected to the shop.
Some said she went for a church programme, while others said she had left her children to pass the night with her new husband.
Her neighbours also claimed that she was fond of locking up her children in their apartment whenever she passed the night outside.
On hearing of the fire outbreak, she had raced back to the shop and raised the alarm that her kids were trapped in the shop next to her room. Unfortunately, efforts of residents and firefighters proved abortive as the children had already been burnt to death.
The charred bodies were later removed from the scene.
Although, efforts to speak with Mama Faranmi proved abortive, however, The Nation gathered that she owns the property and ran two shops – a salon and provision store among a row of shops. The children were sleeping in the salon when the incident occurred.
Another casualty, whose name was given simply as Joy, a resident, was lucky to have been woken up by the shouts of her son who was dreaming that his mother was dying, only to realize that the whole place had been engulfed by fire. They narrowly escaped but lost all their belongings to the fire.
Mama Feranmi was not the only one who lost property; a shop owner and neighbor, Madam Beauty Chikezie, wailed uncontrollably over the loss of her property worth over N2 million. “Where do I start from now? I got a call around 3am that my shop was burning. By the time I called my brother, he said it is true. On getting here everything had been burnt to the ground. Where do I start from; I have lost goods worth more than N2million,” she said.
Other shop owners were seen picking what was left of the rubble and were unwilling to speak.
Executive Secretary of Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Mr Jaiye Alabi, described the incident as regrettable. “It is very unfortunate. I was woken around 3am. I was told that the fire was triggered when a varagon bus collided with the Danfo bus that was stationary. It was put out by 5am. The fire fighters really tried. They did a great job”.
A community leader in the community, Peter Adediji said: “It is sad and very unfortunate that the children from the same parents were roasted to death. It goes to show the economic situation in the country, that kids would be left to sleep in the shop. There is no reason why they should be sleeping in the shop. I can imagine the agony that the parents would be going through.”