An aged woman, Florence Omolafe, and her daughter-in-law, Dupe Omolafe, were on Monday allegedly choked to death by fumes from a generator at their place of residence on Surulere Street in the Oworonshoki area of Lagos State.
Three other victims, identified as Deji Omolafe, Igbekele and Fumilayo Sama, are currently battling for their lives at the Gbagada General Hospital.
When PUNCH Metro visited the scene of the incident, it was gathered that two relatives of the deceased, identified simply as Segun and Daniel, returned from a vigil but could not gain access into the room and several calls made to the victims were unanswered.
The relatives became apprehensive and one of them reportedly went to the back of the house, peeped through the window and saw all of them lying motionless on the floor.
Florence’s step-son, Peter, said Segun and Daniel had to force their way into the room and rushed the victims to hospital.
He stated that two of the victims were confirmed dead, while the other three had been placed on admission, adding that efforts were on to retrieve the corpses for burial.
Peter stated, “Florence’s son, Segun, went for vigil, but when he returned around 6.30am, he started knocking on the door but no one answered. So, he decided not to disturb his mother, because he believed she was still sleeping. But when the second son, Daniel, returned from vigil and no one answered the calls to open the door, they both became worried.
“So, one of them went to the back of the house and peeped through the window and saw five persons lying unconscious on the floor. So, they broke the door and alerted neighbours. It was at that point that I was called and when I got there, I saw all of them lying on the floor and we tried everything we could to wake them up, but all our efforts proved abortive.
“So, we quickly rushed them to the Gbagada General Hospital, where doctors confirmed to us that Florence and Dupe had died, while Deji Omolafe and Florence’s grandchildren, Fumilayo and Igbekele Sama, were revived and admitted. All of them were playing outside yesterday (Sunday) and no one knew something like this would happen.”
PUNCH Metro gathered that policemen from the Oworonshoki Division had visited the scene to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.
It was also learnt that the corpses had been deposited in the mortuary, but the family was reportedly making plans to evacuate them for burial.
A neighbour, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Florence was using a generator that was suspected to have caused the tragedy.
“A lot of people use generator but don’t know the danger that may arise from using it and that is what exactly happened. The woman also used generator overnight, but we don’t want to speculate,” the neighbour said.
Another neighbour, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said only an autopsy would ascertain the actual cause of death, adding that medical practitioners were still running some tests on the three surviving victims.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said, “We received a complaint about the incident and we have moved two corpses to hospital for autopsy. Three other persons survived the incident and detectives, who went to the scene, perceived the odour of generator fumes, so it is a possible cause, but we are not concluding at this stage until the autopsy reveals the truth.
“But preliminary investigation showed that the room was stuffy; so, there is a likelihood that the death may be due to generator fumes.”