Tragedy struck on Monday in Jenta Adamu in the Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State when a retired Assistant Superintendent of Police, Anthony Kwanmi, and three of his children were burnt to death in an early morning fire that engulfed his house.
However, his wife and one of his children were lucky, as they escaped with burns. Punch learnt that the survivors were admitted at the Bingham University Teaching Hospital (Jankwano), Jos, where they were receiving treatment.
It was learnt that Kwanmi hailed from the Shendam LGA and recently retired from the police force.
An eyewitness said the deceased, who was a former aide-de-camp to ex-civilian governor of the state, Mr. Fidelis Tapgun, was burnt to death together with his children.
The witness, who did not want to be identified, said the fire started after an electric spark from a meter in the house.
He said, “The meter was mounted at the entrance to the building. There was a spark from the meter which started the fire. Because the meter was at the entrance, the fire prevented them from escaping. It quickly spread to other rooms in the house.”
Our correspondent gathered that Kwanmi and his children went to bed and locked their doors at about 2.30am after watching a football match between Nigeria and Sweden in the ongoing Olympics Competition in Rio, Brazil.
However, neighbours were woken up by the cries for help from the children, who were sleeping in a room close to their father’s.
Kwanmi reportedly made spirited efforts to open the door and free himself and the children, but the thick smoke billowing from the fire prevented him.
It was learnt that their charred remains were removed by neighbours, who had to break down the walls of the house to gain entry.
When our correspondent visited the house, all the rooms were in ruins.
PUNCH Metro saw a blanket, which the retired cop reportedly used to cover his nose while attempting to rescue his children.
The Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Tyopev Terna, confirmed the incident.
He said, “The ‘A’ Division of the state police command got a call around 3am on Monday and we responded to the distress call. Officials of the state fire service were also mobilised to the burning building; they assisted in putting out the fire.
“The retired police officer and three of his children lost their lives, while his wife and one family member are currently receiving treatment at a hospital.”
While going to press, PUNCH Metro learnt that the fourth child of the retired ASP, had also died.
Online news portal, Eagle Online, reported that the last child, a girl, died at the hospital where she was receiving treatment.
The killed children are, Theresa, Thomas, Emmanuel and Kerry.