A 65-year-old man, Alhaji Kamorudeen Ajibade and his daughters, Wuraola (19) and Shakirat (15) died on Tuesday in Somolu area of Lagos when their generator exploded. The incident, according to neighbours, happened about 10p.m. at 5, Adebiyi Street, Somolu.
Witnesses said Ajibade was pouring fuel inside his generator near a burning stove at the back of their apartment while Shakirat held the torchlight for him when the generator exploded. The sound of the explosion, the neighbours added, attracted Wuraola’s attention. According to them, she rushed outside but fell into the fire while trying to rescue her father and sister.
It was learnt that the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Rachael Ajibade, ran out of the house Unclad with her last child when she learnt of the tragedy. Ajibade’s first daughter, Mrs. Tawa Olasunkanmi, said she could not believe her father and two stepsisters had died. She said:
“I was on my way home after closing from shop when I got a phone call from my father’s neighbour that my father and my stepsisters had been consumed by fire. Immediately, I went to his residence only to see a mammoth crowd in the compound. Some people were wailing.
I was told my father died as a result of fuel explosion when he was refilling his generator.” Mrs. Rukayat Ibrahim, a neighbour, said when ‘Alhaji’ returned from work, he asked Shakirat to prepare tea for him. She went inside the room to prepare the the tea, while her father went to fill their generator near where she was boiling water. But they did not know the generator was leaking. “Shakirat on her phone’s light for her father to see. Suddenly, there was a loud sound which attracted everybody in the compound.
“That is all I could remember. I don’t even want to think about it. It is a big loss to this community.” A neighbour, who did not want his name in print, said, Wuraola would have survived the incident because she went inside the room to get milk for the tea when she heard the loud noise. According to him, Wuraola saw her father and sister burning but while trying to save her father who was close to her, she fell inside the fire. He said: “It is an awful experience. They all burnt beyond recognition.
It was difficult for the firefighters to access the house. The crowd was massive. Nobody knew they were trapped there. We thought they escaped. The firefighters went through another building and brought out their remains. That was when we knew they were dead.”
Ajibade, it was learnt, was to be appointed as the Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Onipanu Phase 2. The NURTW Chairman, Bajulaiye Abiodun Unit, Mr. Sulaiman Allison, said he was with Ajibade on Tuesday at the motor park to discuss the latter’s proposed inauguration. He said: “I was surprised when I received a phone call about his death.
That is why I came to sympathise with his family. His death is a big loss to the union in Somolu. We will miss him.” One of Ajibade’s daughters, Shukurat Shabi, said it was difficult to believe that her father and sisters were gone. She said: “My father was a hardworking man.
When it is time for him to be rewarded for his efforts towards the progress of transport business in Somolu, he died. He bought a new bus three weeks ago to complement the one he had. He took fuel from the same bus to power the generator which caught fire.”
A neighbour, Vincent Achum, described the fire as mysterious. Achum said that about N400,000 the deceased collected from a cooperative society also got burnt. The burnt naira notes littered the compound. He said: “It was unusual for the deceased to return home early because he was plying Fola Agoro-Onipanu route.
But yesterday (Tuesday) he came early and asked for a cup of tea. He died without taking the tea. But to our surprise, the fire did not spread to other apartments in the compound.” The Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Rasaq Fadipe, said the fire was caused by fuel storage in the compound. He advised residents to desist from storing petroleum products in their homes to prevent loss of lives and property.
The Lagos State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit (SEHMU) was said to have evacuated the remains of the deceased to the Mainland General Hospital mortuary.