The incident happened around 5am on Saturday.
PUNCH Metro was told that the fire began from a cooking stove which exploded in the bungalow where the victims lived with their parents. The inferno was said to have quickly spread and torched the room where the children were. The mother of the children fled the area and called for help, but the children could not be saved.
PUNCH Metro learnt that firefighters and other officials of the Lagos State Fire Service and National Emergency Management Agency were on ground during the incident.
The Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, said the agency was not alerted on time, adding that when firefighters got to the scene, they only met the charred remains of the victims.
He said: “The fire started around 5am, and it involved a bungalow on 11, Fabiyi Street, Igbo Efon. The bungalow has a two and a three bedroom flats. “We were alerted to the incident exactly 6.03am and when we got there, we still met the fire raging. We deployed our men from the Eti-Osa and Onikan divisions in the area. “However, when they got there, they only saw the corpses of the kids; they had suffered severe burns injuries. “Preliminary investigations reveal that the children’s father was not around, but their mother was. They were preparing a meal on the stove, when the stove exploded. “The children could not escape it and that was how they were burnt to death.”
Fadipe said an uncle of the victim called the ambulance service which conveyed them to the mortuary, adding that the tragedy was avoidable if precaution had been taken by the children’s parents. He advised members of the public to avoid storing kerosene and petrol in the same keg, which he said might have been responsible for the incident.
“We suspect that the explosion was because kerosene was mixed up with petrol in the tank of the stove. This could be because the couple used the same keg to buy petrol and kerosene. “It is very important for people to ensure that the keg they use in buying kerosene is not the same used for petrol. “Again, when the fire in a cooking stove is to be put off, we must ensure the thread is completely out, and not for us to be using crude method of water or mouth to blow out the fire, which could cause an explosion,” Fadipe added.
The spokesperson for NEMA, Ibrahim Farinloye, said the victims were with a couple in the area because of the elections, when a gas cooker exploded.
He said: “The children were in the area because of the election and wanted to seek refuge in the event that there was violence where they stayed with their parents. They were cooking when there was an explosion. “The kids hid under the bed, but were burnt to death. Nobody knew they were there until somebody remembered that they were still in the house, but by then, it was too late.” He added that officials of the agency tried to salvage the situation, but it was too late.