But for providence, a family of 12, four adults and eight children, would have been burnt to death in a midnight inferno which razed a two-room bungalow on No. 36A, Adekunjo Street, Akera-Alakuko, on the outskirts of Lagos, New Telegraph reports.
The fire, which started about 2.10a.m. yesterday, completely destroyed the siting room and front part of the building, as well as valuables belonging to the family.
But no life was lost in the inferno as none of the occupants of the building was killed or sustained injury. They were evacuated by the men on the street, who fought spiritedly for almost two hours before they could put out the fire.
However, the cause of the fire was still sketchy at the time of filling this report, as the occupants claimed that it was not as a result of power surge, since the inferno started from outside through a used tyre alleged to have been set on fire close to the front window.
“About 2.10a.m., I just woke up to see the front window and ceiling burning with smoke covering everywhere.
"It was then I raised the alarm, which woke members of the street, who came to our rescue. I don’t know how we came out of the building. We are all 12 people living in the house, with most of the children sleeping in the siting room which was completely destroyed by the fire,” one of the occupants said.
When New Telegraph visited the site of the incident yesterday morning, the 68-year-old landlord, Pa Idris Rahman Olatunji, who was still in shock and short of words, said he suspected foul play. Olatunji said the inferno was the handiwork of some mischief makers. But, he wondered why someone could wish to kill all members of his family by setting the house on fire.
He said: “It was not caused by electricity spark or power surge. It was the alarmed raised by one of my daughters that woke us. Already, the entire house had been covered by smoke. It only took the grace of God and help from members of the street, who fought their way into the house to evacuate the children that rescue us from being killed in the fire.
“We thank God that none of us died in the inferno, but all I laboured for in my life have been destroyed by the fire. All our property had been destroyed by the fire.
“Now, nothing is left for us. No place to keep our heads. It is a harrowing experience. The only part of the house that was not touched by the fire had been damaged, especially the ceilings to allow them to put out from spreading to that part.”
Lamenting the fire incident, a member of the community recalled how he called the Emergency Line 122, only for a voice that answered to give him another number to call the Lagos State Fire Service, which at the end of the day could not get through.
He said: “If not for some brave young boys and men on the street, who came out and fought spiritedly to put out the fire, the story would have been different.”
The man called on the government to build fire stations in every local government area of the state, given the alarming occurrence of fire incidents in Lagos. However, Olatunji and his 63-year-old wife pleaded with the state government and other spirited individuals to come to their aid, as they were left with nothing to live on.