By Ikenna Obianeri
The Anambra State Police Command has confirmed the death of a couple, their two children and others at their residence in Nkwele Ezunaka, Onitsha.
The man, his wife, two children, mother-in-law and an apprentice reportedly died after inhaling poisonous fumes from a generator on Wednesday.
City Round gathered that the man’s wife had just been delivered of a baby, and to give the wife a surprise gift, he arranged for the family to move to their new house.
Sources in the area said it was the family’s first night in their new residence, adding that only the four-day-old baby survived.
The source said the incident was revealed when a friend, who was supposed to join them in the celebration that night but couldn’t meet up, went to the house and discovered that the doors were locked with the generator still on.
He said, “The entire members of the family were in their new house celebrating when suddenly there was a power outage. The man put on the generator stationed at the verandah close to the bedroom.
“The celebration continued into the night before they all slept off and didn’t remember to switch off the generator. The next morning, a friend who was supposed to join them in the celebration but couldn’t meet up, went to the deceased’s house only to discover that the doors were locked with the generator still running.
“After knocking for some time without response, he alerted other neighbours, who forced the door open and saw the lifeless bodies; it was only the four-day-old baby that survived.
“The wife and one of the daughters were still unconscious when they were rushed to the hospital, but efforts to resuscitate them, including placing them on oxygen, failed, and they were pronounced dead.”
The Manager of St. Charles Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha, where the victims were rushed to, Rev. Fr. Izunna Okonkwo, confirmed that only the newborn baby survived.
Sources said the middle-aged man, identified only as Ifeanyi, hailed from Enugu State, and was a trader at the Onitsha Bridge Head Market.
The spokesperson for the Anambra State Police Command, Tochukwu Ikenga, who also confirmed the incident to our correspondent on Friday, said the police had yet to unravel the cause of the tragedy.
“The matter is still being investigated and the details will be communicated as soon as investigation is concluded,” he added.