A victim of an early morning inferno in Ondo, Ondo State, who was prevented from jumping into the fire, had vowed to commit suicide if she failed to get financial assistance.
The lady (name withheld), who lost all her belongings in the ill-fated house gutted by fire was held back by the people when she attempted to jump into the fire, out of anguish. She had lamented that all she laboured for in her entire life were consumed by the fire, hence her resolve to end her life. The quick intervention of sympathisers, however, saved the day. The inferno wreaked havoc, destroying property and goods worth several millions of naira.
The fire, which reportedly started at about 6am in a building on Enuowa Street opposite Osemawe’s Palace, took over the entire building before the occupants could wake up on that fateful day.
The occupants, who were mostly traders and artisans, were rescued by neighbours before the arrival of fire fighters Although no life was lost in the fire disaster, the cause of the outbreak was yet to be ascertained. However, some people attributed it to a high voltage from electricity supply on that day. Others suspected that the fire might have emanated from an explosion from a damaged stove. The fire lasted nearly four hours and destroyed items, including dresses, electronics, mattresses, furniture, drinks, food stuffs and shoes.
When Daily Sun visited the scene of the incident at about 7am on that day, officials of the state fire service were battling to control the fire. Similarly, officers from the Enuowa Police Station were seen, making efforts to control the attendant traffic jam.
Some victims of the fire incident, who claimed to have lost several personal effects were wailing, while sympathisers gathered in groups, discussing the development. One of the victims, Mrs. Toyin Remilekun, said she was away to a community called Fagbo in Ondo East Local Government Area when she was informed about the incident through a call to her phone.
She added that before she could get to the place, all her property had been razed by fire. She lamented the situation, which, she said, had sent her into penury and called on the government as well as good Samaritans to come to her aid so that she could start a new life.
Another resident of the house, Mrs. Christianah Akintelure, said she was sleeping at about 6 am when she heard a loud noise from the top of the affected building. She added that subsequently, flame was sighted from the roof of the building, a development which she said made her to raise an alarm.
While ruling out any act of sabotage, Akintelure attributed the cause of the incident to a high voltage of electricity brought to the area by the PHCN. As a way of ameliorating the plight of the victims, she called on the state government, National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), and public-spirited individuals to come to their aid saying the step would go a long way in alleviating their sufferings.
An octogenarian, Pa Akin Akinloye, who claimed to be the landlord’s son, and who was said to have fainted after the news got to him, appealed to government, non-governmental organisations, religious bodies and individuals to come to his aid in order to rebuild the house, the only legacy left behind for him by his late father. A senior official of the Ondo State Fire Service described the incident as unfortunate.
He said report of the incident did not get to the fire service on time, adding that it was communicated to their office few hours after the incident had occurred.