Relatives of the Gbadamosi family of Kajola-Ijesha in Atakumosa West Local Government Area of Osun state are yet to come to terms with the shocking death of four members of the family who were burnt to death in a late night fire, the cause of which remains a mystery days after.
Mr Lateef Gbadamosi, his wife and two children perished in the tragic incident. Family belongings including furniture, electronics, cooking utensils and other household materials were lost in the fire too.
One of the deceased’s children, Mutiat Gbadamosi survived, because she was absent from home during the inferno. She rushed back to the family home located at Isale Oja Street from the mosque where she had gone to observe the late night Ramadan prayers, only to watch her parents and siblings who were hale and hearty a few hours earlier being consumed by the raging inferno.
“I came back from the mosque where I had gone to pray at midnight and saw a large crowd in front of our house. I saw my father and mother being burnt by fire. He made an attempt to jump through the window but fire eventually caught up with him and he died. Also my brother made an attempt to jump out of the house but his clothes caught fire and he also died. We lost four people on the same day. It’s so painful,” 20-year-old Mutiat told Sunday Sun.
She debunked the claim that an electric power surge triggered the fire, saying it was a mystery as there had been no electricity supply to their house since it had been disconnected for over a month.
“It was a rumour that the fire was caused by an electric power surge. There was no electricity in the house for over a month now and the whole family had been sleeping in darkness. We all slept in darkness on that fateful day and no one lighted a candle or lantern. We were all using torchlights. My dad just labored in vain. He worked and he was not allowed to eat the fruits of his labour. He died when we needed him most. He was not allowed to fulfill his dreams. He had told us of his desire to do certain things this year, but his untimely death has prevented him from doing them. My mum and dad were lovers of their people but they both died same day. That is why the whole community is mourning their demise and everywhere is gloomy in our town now.”
Explaining how she escaped death, Mutiat said, “I was also sleeping at home but left home for prayers at a nearby mosque and also woke my parents up to join me for the prayers but they declined. I also tried to convince my other siblings to join me for the prayers but they complained that they were tired. I later left home for the mosque to observe the prayers and it was at the mosque I got the news that our house was on fire.”
She added, “When I got home, we called officials of the state Fire Service in Osogbo and they responded timely but their efforts could not stop the fire. The fire spread despite the efforts of good Samaritans in the community and officials of the fire service.
“I heard my father shouting for help on top of his voice before he finally gave up the ghost, but it was too difficult for anyone to move close to him and others in the fire. I watched all of them as they were burnt to death. People really tried to rescue them but we could not help the situation.”
She appealed to the state government to assist her and her surviving siblings to complete their education.
Her late father, Mutiat said, had two wives and 12 children as well as many relatives who relied on him for survival, lamenting that the vacuum created by his death would be too difficult to fill.
Describing her father as good-natured, she said he was nice to all members of the community and they would all miss the assistance he rendered to most people free.
The incident has thrown the entire community into deep mourning. It was said to be the first fire incident in the history of the town.
Osun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Grace Laoye-Tomori who visited the town to commiserate with the people expressed shock and concern at the death of the four family members in such a horrible circumstance, promising that the state government would take care of the remaining children.
Mrs. Tomori who gave some undisclosed amount to the eldest child of the deceased admonished residents of Kajola to be vigilant, assuring that the state government would ensure that measures were put in place to avoid a re-occurrence.