Tragedy struck a family of eight when their two-bedroom apartment caught fire at about 11pm on Thursday, killing five members of the family at their No. E 36, Faskari Street, Kakuri area of Kaduna metropolis. The fire was suspected to have started from a lighted candle. The parents, however, survived the inferno because they were away in a hospital, attending to a new baby just added to the family at Saint Gerald Catholic Hospital, Kaduna.a day before the incident.
The deceased names were given as, Sadiya 16, Ramat 11, Monsir 7, Khalid 9, the name of the fifth child, 14, was not given as at press time. They have since been buried according to Islamic rites. Their father, Mohammed Aminu Okene told newsmen amid sobs that he had earlier taken them to the hospital, to see their mother and the new baby. Okene added that he later returned them to the house in the evening and went back to remain with the wife in the hospital, waving the children goodnight. He said , however, that few hours later, he got the news that his house was on fire, and that before he could get to the house, their two-bedroom apartment had been razed down by fire, and all the five children were burnt to death.
“Life is now meaningless to me, but I will only take solace in God. It is a terrible moment in my life. Losing five children is the worst thing that has ever happened to me in life. I can’t even wish my enemy to go through the same pain I am going through. But Allah, who gives life, is the same one that takes life and only Him knows why He has taken them. “I have cordial relationship with my children; we live happily together and it is very difficult to forget.
Yesterday, I took them to their mother in the hospital to see her after undergoing caesarean operation to deliver a baby. I prayed with my children in the hospital for Allah’s protection over them and their mother”, the bereaved father narrated. Saturday Sun learnt that efforts by neighbours to force the door open to rescue the children proved difficult, but by the time they succeeded in breaking it down, the inmates were in terrible conditions.
One of the victims died on the way to the hospital, while the other four died hours later in the hospital where their mother is receiving medical attention. The sad news of the death of her children has however been kept away from her for now because of her condition. The fire was said to have been put off at about 11.30 pm by fire service fighters and neighbours around the affected house.
An eyewitness said, “We suspected candle light, because the eldest of them, Sadiya, had gone to buy kerosene earlier, but she did not get kerosene, so she bought a candle. So they lit the candle and slept off. It is suspected that it was the candle