Tragedy struck on Allen Avenue, in the Ikeja area of Lagos State, after a yet-to-be-identified teenage girl was killed in a fire disaster.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the victim was locked up inside her parents’ apartment on the second floor of the two-storeyed building on Ladipo Kuku Street.
Her mother, who was alleged to be cooking in the kitchen, was said to have left the house and gone outside when the incident happened.
Our correspondent was told that the fire, which began from the kitchen, engulfed the house and killed the child.
Residents said the fire began raging around 6pm on Wednesday.
A security guard, Mohammed Amadu, who was part of the local rescue team, explained that other tenants in the house had travelled for the Yuletide, adding that only the deceased and her mother were at home.
The girl’s father was said to be late.
He said, “It was around 6pm that the incident happened. I was outside with some other security guards when we suddenly saw smoke billowing from the roof of the building. We quickly rushed there and discovered that the house was on fire and it was coming from the kitchen.
“We mobilised to the scene and began pouring water to douse the flames, but it continued raging. We could not access the building because everywhere was locked. We were only fighting the fire from outside.”
He said shortly afterwards, the victim’s mother arrived at the house and told them her child was in the house.
Another resident, who did not give his name, said efforts to put out the fire was abortive, adding that officials of the Lagos State Fire Service later arrived with two trucks.
He said, “But by the time the firefighters arrived, it was already too late. The child was dead and all they could do was to remove her burnt corpse. It was unfortunate because she was her only child.”
A resident, who was close to the family, said the deceased was retarded and was always locked up in the house.
She said, “It is a pity that the girl had to die such a painful death. She had down-syndrome and that probably informed why the mother always locked her in the house. She is about 17 years old.”
PUNCH Metro gathered that policemen from the Ikeja division arrested the victim’s mother for questioning on the circumstances surrounding the death.
The Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, who confirmed the death in a text message, said firefighters from the Alausa division responded to the incident.
He said, “The fire affected a two-storeyed building in Ikeja. A girl was found consumed by the fire.”
Fadipe, who urged Lagosians to take precautions during the harmattan period, said the agency responded to 14 fire emergencies on Wednesday.
He said the fire service was working hard to protect lives and property in the state, appealing to residents to assist the agency by calling the emergency numbers on time.