Tragic: Generator fumes kill 80-year-old woman, 4 grandchildren

Two of the victims

Sorrow and sadness on Thursday enveloped Robiyan, near Ijoko in Ifo Local Government, Ogun State as residents discovered the lifeless bodies of an 80 year-old woman, identified as Madam Kuburat, and her four grandchildren, including a toddler in a newly completed house.

Five other people who slept in the house were in critical conditions at two general hospitals as doctors battle to save their lives.

Although there were different accounts of what could have caused their death, the Divisional Police Officer of Agbado Police Station, Mr. Okere Daniel, suspected it could be fumes from a generator.

The DPO said, “From the physical examination of the victims, it is obvious that they must have died of carbon monoxide, all foaming from the mouth; this means that they must be gasping (for breath).

“A similar thing happened at Obadofin in 2010, when I was a DPO at Alafia. A whole family was wiped off. It was during a festive period like this; they put on the generator and locked it up inside the house for use overnight.”

It was learnt that the generator which was placed in the veranda of the house must have worked overnight while the doors and windows were locked.

Apart from the 10 people, a man and his wife also in the house were said to have rushed their child to a nearby community hospital at midnight when they found her gasping for breath.

PUNCH Metro learnt that it was the woman that reportedly cried out and alerted the whole community to the tragedy when she returned in the morning and found everybody “sleeping.”

The traditional ruler of the area, Chief Olu Kujore, said he ordered his men to break into the house and forced the windows open.

Kujore said, “We hurriedly rushed those who were still breathing to the hospital. Some of them were taken to Ota General Hospital while others were taken to Ifako General Hospital.

“But two of the kids died before they could be attended to at the hospital and their corpses had to be returned to the house.”

One of our correspondents saw the five dead victims before they were taken to the Ota General Hospital for autopsy.

Another resident of the area, who identified himself as Baba Michael, said no fewer than five bricklayers with different sets of workers handled the construction of the house.

“During the construction, three times, a section of the house had collapsed and had to be re-erected,” he said.

A young lady, Amina Disu, who said she was Kuburat’s grandchild, said they had come to the village for the Christmas and New Year festivities.

She recalled that they prepared rice for the family and their neighbours on Wednesday before she left for business at Mushin in Lagos.

Disu said, “My mother had a protracted battle with two other people over the ownership of the land before she eventually built it. And we went through hell to get the job done.

“My mother was a fish seller at Mushin. We only came to celebrate the Christmas and New Year with granny. My brother, his wife and their children were around too. It was a full house. I was here yesterday (Wednesday). We had fun and had to serve food to our neighbours.”

She said she was surprised when her granny’s neighbours called her to inform her about the incident.

Police Public Relations Officer in Ogun State, Muyiwa Adejobi, who confirmed the incident, said the matter would be investigated.

“The fumes were discovered to have got into the house through the veranda where it was placed. Three of the victims had died before they got to the hospital, while two others also died later in the hospital. Five others, who were affected, are currently recuperating,” he said.

Punch Newspapers

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