A woman and her 7-year-old daughter were burnt to death in Calabar the Cross River State Capital when fire razed their apartment at the 15 Andem Street, 8 mile Calabar.
Husband of the deceased simply described as Lawrence, and his brother-in-law are recuperating at the Calabar General Hospital.
It was gathered that their generator caught fire when the brother in-law of the deceased attempted to refill the generator while it was still hot.
Sources said the brother in-law got burnt in the inferno and was rushed to the hospital.
Mr Lawrence, a staff of an oil Depot in Calabar who was rumoured to have collected his “contribution” few days ago, is reported to have collapsed when he learnt of the disaster.
Fire officials said that the fire started when brother of the deceased husband attempted to refill a heated generator and the generator exploded.
It was gathered that occupants of the building have a central place where they keep their generators and when the deceased family’s generator exploded it spread to others. Sources said other occupants escaped but the deceased and her daughter were trapped inside their own apartment.
Eyewitnesses said, they noticed the fire at about 8:45 pm, and had tried to put off the flames while operatives of the Quick Intervention Squad (QIS) were alerted.
A neighbour, Mr Age Edward, said “When he heard that there was a fire, he rushed to the scene to assist “but when I arrived, the fire was terrible that we could not help out. We tried all we could to quench the fire, but to no avail and it was later that we heard that the woman and her daughter were trapped inside”
“Personally I contacted the Quick Response (QIS) but to no success after three times. I did not have the telephone number of the men of the Fire Service we did our best, though it was not enough” he stated
Our source revealed that men of the fire service arrived the scene when the fire had reduced and they finally put off the fire and they found two charred bodies said to be the wife and child of the man.
However the fire division of the Quick Intervention Squad said they responded promptly. Mr Daniel Ibor, the Unit Commander of Fire Service at the QIS, told our source that his men arrived the scene 30 minutes after they were called due to the distance from Calabar to 8 Miles, “We were called at about 9:30 pm and we responded immediately. “
It is quite unfortunate that the fire involved fuel. Despite the distance we still did our best to get there on time. We have been asking people not to decant fuel into a steaming generator. We advise them to allow it cool first.
“If it was a free burning fire, by the time we got there we would have saved a lot. Our quick response really stopped the fire from spreading to other properties.” He further explained that the water in their truck got depleted and that there had to collect more from the fire unit of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), not from a private water tank as some eyewitnesses reported.
– Edem Edem, Calabar