• Senate president, Buni condole with victims
• Fire outbreaks claimed 65 lives in Kaduna last year
A pregnant mother, Halima Umar, and three of her children have been killed in a fire incident that occurred in their apartment in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital. The cause of the inferno, which started at midnight on Wednesday is yet to be known, but two flats were razed down.
According to an eyewitness, the husband, Malam Adamu Aliyu, was only able to rescue their last child while he escaped with burns.
The Yobe State Fire Service confirmed the incident, saying a mother and her three daughters were killed in a fire incident on Tuesday night at Red Bricks Quarters, on Maiduguri road, Damaturu.
Damaturu Fire Station Officer, Mr. Usman Habu, who confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), yesterday, said the incident occurred at about 11:00p.m.
“We were informed about the fire incident at Red Bricks quarters, Maiduguri road, Damaturu at about 11:00p.m. When we arrived at the scene, we learnt that the victims’ father, Malam Adamu Aliyu, had made efforts to rescue his family, but was only able to save his five-year-old son, Faruq Aliyu.
“The fire became too fierce and he could not save the rest of his family members, but he managed to jump out to safety. We forced open the door and recovered the woman’s body, as well as her three daughters.
Habu blamed the deaths to lack of a back door to serve as an emergency exit. He advised prospective tenants and home owners to always ensure that the property they intended to rent or build has a minimum of two entrances. If there was an escape door, the man could have saved his family,’’ Habu said.
The fire station officer also appealed to residents in the state to avoid keeping inflammable items in the home and switch off all electric appliances after power outage and when not at home.
Madam Binta Mohammed, one of the neighbours and a friend to the family, told newsmen that the three girls, Aisha Aliyu, Saadatu Aliyu, and Safiya Aliyu, were aged 10, eight and two years respectively.
Dr. Istifanus Dauda of Damaturu Specialist Hospital, who also confirmed the incident to NAN, said the boy was brought in with an inflamed bone and he is receiving medical attention at the hospital.
“The report that I was given by the doctor on call last night was that there were people that lost their lives in the incident. According to the report, there was only one survivor in that family apart from the person that is currently on admission,’’ Dauda explained.
The Yobe State governor, Mai Mala Buni, has expressed his condolences and sympathies to the family of Arc. Adamu Ali over the late night fire incident in their Red Bricks Estate Damaturu home, which led to the death of his pregnant wife, Halima Umar and three of their children.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Baba Mallam Wali and other senior government officials at the funeral prayers for the fire victims, which took place at the Jumuat Mosque of the Three-Bedroom Estate Gujba Road Damaturu, prayed Allah to admit the deceased to al-Jannatul Firdausi and give their entire family the fortitude to bear the loss.
The governor also prayed for speedy recovery for Arc. Adamu Ali and his son from the injuries they sustained from the fire outbreak in their home.
Also, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, has commiserated with the family of the victims.
Also confirming the fire and number of casualty, the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Muhammad Goje, said two households were burnt completely and four lives were lost to the unfortunate incident.
“It was with a heavy heart we received the report and despite the curfew, we went out and reached the six-storey house. A family of six, a pregnant mother and her three children, unfortunately, died during the incident and the father was able to throw one of the children out and he also saved himself but the father sustained some burns.”
At the Damaturu specialist hospital, Adamu was seen in a critical condition and according to the doctor on duty, he has been attended to and will receive adequate treatment.
“The patient was brought in with a flame burn at about 12:00a.m. this morning and according to the assessment that was made, the burns were about 20 per cent of his body and he was attended to as a flame burn emergency.”
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Fire Service has said it recorded 523 fire outbreaks and 65 deaths in the state between January and December 2019. Mr. Paul Aboi, the state Director of Fire Service, disclosed this in an interview with NAN in Kaduna.
He also said the incidences were recorded in Kaduna, Zaria and Kafanchan zones, adding that the fire outbreaks were caused mainly by carelessness in the use of electrical appliances and ignorance about handling of naked fires.
Aboi said December period recorded the highest incidences of fire with 69 outbreaks followed by the months of January at 74, February at 65, March at 67 and April at 61.
“The high rate of fire outbreak is usually from December till April because the period is the core dry season,” he said.