Lagos — Tragedy struck yesterday at No. 13, Buraimoh Street, Bariga, in the Lagos metropolis, when a midnight fire claimed the lives of a man, his pregnant wife, and their two children aged five and seven years.
The man and his wife were said to be operators of a local pharmaceutical shop in the affected building.
The fire was said to have started about 2:00a.m. on Wednesday.
The exact cause of the fire tragedy remained controversial as some neighbours told our correspondent that the fire was caused by an upsurge in electricity supply to the area, while others alleged that the victims placed a candle on a wooden surface and slept off.
Our correspondent was told that the couple and their children were sleeping when the candle burnt completely and began to consume a table on which it was placed. It later spread to the clothes beside the table.
Fire fighters from the Lagos State Fire Service, officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and policemen from the Bariga police division responded to distress calls from residents in the area, but the victims had died before help could come their way.
A resident, Kayode Ibrahim, said the fire had spread to other parts of the room before a neighbour became aware and raised the alarm. According to him, the fire later spread to two other neighbouring shops.
"Two of the children were suffocated by the fumes before fire got to them. Everybody was devastated by the incident," he said.
The Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Razaq Fadipe, said that the victims were found dead inside one of the three shops that were badly burnt by the inferno. Fadipe confirmed that the family was living in one of the shops and also running a pharmaceutical business therein.