Tragedy struck on Buraimoh Street in the Bariga area of Lagos on Wednesday after an early morning fire suspected to have been triggered off by a power surge, claimed the life of a pastor, Kenneth Eze; his wife, Favour; and their two children, Miracle and Marvellous.
Kenneth was said to be the pastor in charge of World Harvest Ministry in Gbagada area of the state.
It was learnt that the family of four lived where Kenneth and his wife sold drugs and provisions. The family relocated there after he could not raise enough money to pay rent for his former apartment.
The Punch gathered from witnesses that the Ikeja Electric restored power around 2am, which allegedly triggered off the fire in the place.
The victims were said to have been trapped by the two-level security burglar proof at the entrance of the shop and its extension, leading to their death.
Officials of Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and policemen from the Bariga division, were said to have responded to the emergency.
A LASEMA official was alleged to have collapsed during the rescue operation.
As soon as the fire was put out, relatives of the victims were said to have taken the corpses to their hometown in Umueze Ala Ogboko, in the Ideato South area of Imo State.
Burnt clothes, drugs, fans and a pot of vegetable soup were seen during a visit on Wednesday.
Two other shops were affected by the inferno before the intervention of firefighters.
A screen printer, whose shop was opposite the victims’, said a power surge triggered the inferno.
A friend of the victim, Okechukwu Idoko, claimed to have mobilised some residents to put out the fire before the arrival of the firefighters, adding that their efforts were futile.
Idoko said he had discussed with the victim the previous day on the completion of his (Kenneth’s) house in the Ikorodu area of the state.
“He said he wanted to lay the tiles on the floor, and I advised him to put certain things in place first. That was our last discussion before he died. Despite the fire, the money he made from the previous day sales in the shop, and his telephone were intact,” he added.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Chike Oti, confirmed the fire and the deaths.