Abuja Electricity Distribution (AEDC) Plc has distanced itself from the unfortunate inferno which claimed the lives of five children in Mpape area of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Saturday, April 1, 2017.
The Company, in a statement signed by Ahmed Shekarau, Head of Public Relations & Media said, while it expresses its deepest sympathy with the family of the deceased, the AEDC management deemed it necessary to set the records straight to correct the erroneous impression being created in a section of the media.
AEDC said that the report of a preliminary investigation carried out by a fact-finding team it sent to Mpape on Monday, April 3, 2017, revealed that the accident was caused by an explosion from a fuel container taken into the room where the inferno occurred.
Furthermore, records from the AEDC control room in the area revealed that the area had no electricity supply at the time of the inferno, due to load shedding.
According to the fact-finding team’s report, the mother of the five deceased had sent one of her children to buy petrol for use in the generator set because, at that time, the area had no AEDC supply due to load shedding. Upon return, the child took the fuel into the room in which the five deceased children were sleeping. Because of the saturation of petrol fumes in that room, when the woman lit up a match stick in order to light up a mosquito coil in a bid to wade off mosquitoes, the flame ignited an explosion which engulfed the room.
The AEDC stressed further that some neighbours of the affected family attested to this finding in separate interviews they granted to its fact-finding team. According to one of the neighbours of the family (name withheld), “at about 9pm that day, there was an outage in the whole area and the mother of the deceased sent one of her children to go and buy petrol. Unfortunately, the boy took the fuel into their room.Shortly after, the mother lit up a match in order to light up a mosquito coil to ward off mosquitoes from their room”.
The eye witness said further that: “The moment the fuel container, which was a cellophane bag caught fire, the woman threw it out of the room but unfortunately because the fuel had leaked and splashed in some parts of the room and on her veil, the room was also engulfed and due to the inflammability of petrol there was a conflagration beyond her control. She then ran out shouting for help. Unfortunately, before neighbours could come to her rescue, thewhole room was engulfed and the children who were sleeping in the room died, while the one who bought the fuel got burnt on the leg because she mistakenly threw the petrol container at him when the fire started”.
The neighbour of the family equally explained that electricity supply was not restored to the neighbourhood throughout the night of the incident, thereby confirming that the unfortunate inferno that led to the death of the five children was not caused by electricity.