Barely one week after a bouncer, Sunny Braimoh, 47, and his wife, Morenikeji, 40, were gruesomely burnt to death at their Idowu Lane, Olodi-Apapa, Lagos home, witnesses said the late couple, who were trapped inside their one-room apartment, cried out for help, but could not be saved by bystanders before they were killed by the ravenous inferno.
It was learnt that the fire ravaged the eight-room building where the couple lived while other occupants escaped unhurt.
“They started shouting Fire! fire! fire! help! help! help us!, we are inside! That was how Sunny Braimoh, and his wife Morenikeji cried out for help before they were burnt to death,’’ a neighbour who did not want his name in print told The Nation.
According to sources, the fire started around 4pm after fuel spilled on the floor while one of the male tenants (name withheld) was fuelling his generator where a tenant was cooking.
The man whose jerry can spilled the fuel that triggered the fire, according to sources, has since bolted without a trace.
‘’The two victims cried out for help when the fire broke out but could not make it alive as efforts to rescue them proved abortive. They shouted and shouted fire! fire! help us!, but no one could go break into their apartment because the door to their room has a jam-key and was locked,’’ said another source.
It was learnt that the couple could not be rescued from the fire by neighbours because of the burglary protector behind the door to their room which prevented rescuers from opening the door to save their lives.
The late Buraimoh, a bouncer at a night club in Apapa, is a native of Edo State while the wife, was an ex-footballer and trader.
A friend of the couple identified simply as Kazeem said the couple had been married for a while, until recently when Morenikeji became pregnant.
Kazeem said: “We usually spent time together every Sunday evening. So, as my boss, he sent me to fetch some water to take his bath around 3:45pm and I obliged him. He carried the water to the bathroom, and I was expecting him to join me outside later until I received the sad news that he and his wife died inside the fire. My heart is heavy, I have lost a brother ,friend and benefactor. He was generous and kind, he had helped my life a lot.”
A tearful church member and friend of Morenikeji , Solomon Udomi, said the couple’s death was a big loss to their church.
‘’They were humble, generous and friendly during their life time. We are members of the same church, she (Morenikeji) had not come to church for a while until she came to church this morning and I mocked her that she was no longer our member . She was nice, amiable and God-fearing. I was shocked and yet to recover from the news. Their death is a big loss to us.
“I saw their bodies, they were burnt beyond recognition; it was only the man’s (Braimoh) corpse that I can recognise because he was a heavily-built man.
“They could not be saved from the fire because they had burglary protector behind the door that prevented rescuers from opening the door to save their lives.
‘’Neighbours also tried to find a way through the window of their room but it was not possible. Braimoh and his wife were choked by the smoke of the fire as another gas exploded in the fire. The fire razed the whole house at once and all valuables were destroyed; the flames are too heavy,” he added.
A mother of three, identified simply as Janet, who was visiting her parents at the time of the incident recalled how the fire broke out saying: “I brought my three children to visit my parents, then suddenly we saw fire burning from the backyard. Before we could come out the fire had already engulfed the door. My younger brother quickly quenched it with water and we escaped being burnt. I can’t forget this incident, it is a tragedy. Although we lost everything to the fire but valuables are not as important as our lives.”
Another occupant of the building, Razak Ayinde , a Muslim cleric whose only daughter also escaped death by a whiskers, thanked God for saving his daughter’s life.
He said: “I don’t know how the fire started. I was called on the phone that my house was on fire; luckily I was around the street. I quickly rushed down to carry my daughter. Everybody was busy packing the few things they can salvage from the fire. So nobody knew my daughter was inside the room and my wife had gone to the market. I thank Allah for saving her life. I lost all my property but I have hope that God will provide for me.”
A tailor, Sekinat, said: “I was sewing inside my room. My mother and sister were inside the room with me when we heard people shouting that we should come out. All my customers’ clothes, sewing machine and our properties were burnt to ashes.”