Tragedy struck a Nigerian family in the United States on Tuesday as four members of the family died in a fire that engulfed their resident in Maryland United States.
Identified as the Omogbos, the family met the tragedy in their house located at Prince George’s county in Maryland, in the United States.
Witnesses said the house fire, which started at about 2.30 am (US time) on Tuesday, resulted in the immediate death of Samson and Caroline Omogbo, who also lost their two-year-old twin grandchildren to the same fire.
A Washington Post report said the twins — Anna and Israel Omijie were pulled from the house by firefighters and taken to Children’s National Medical Centre, where they were pronounced dead. Elizabeth Omogbo-Omijie, the mother of the toddlers it was gathered had jumped out of a second floor window to save her life from the choking fire and sustained head injuries.
The report said she is currently in the hospital receiving treatment.
The witness said the fire started when the family was fast asleep, and neighbours, who were awake, were the ones who called the firefighters, but they arrived a little too late.
After investigations, Marc Bashoor, Prince George’s county fire chief, confirmed that the family had no smoke detectors in the house.
“The smoke alarm gives you that early alert so you can get out. It was a chance they didn’t have,” he said.
Paul McGarvey, who leased the house to the family, said he was not sure if his builder installed smoke alarms in the house. Samson Omogbo, now late, travelled to the US over 15 years ago after winning a US green card lottery in Nigeria, his pastor confirmed.
Arriving the US, he started a furniture-restoration business and was able to bring his wife and seven children — three sons and four daughters — to the United States shortly after his arrival. Samson Omogbo, who was 63 years old, was said to have a booming furniture business, which enriched him to move to his new home with his family only in 2015. Friends of the family Sowho, Lucky Ajueyitsi and Michael Efemini, were in tears as they visited the remains of the house, where the Urhobo Association of Washington DC was only hosted five months ago.
Emmanuel Omogbo, a star basketballer for Colorado State University, who lost his parents and his nephew and niece to the fire accident, has been receiving condolences from his university team. “This is absolutely heartbreaking for Emmanuel, his family and for all of us that know him,” Colorado State University coach Larry Eustachy said in a statement issued by the school.
“There are no words to describe how it felt to hear this terrible news earlier today. They were a beautiful family that I enjoyed getting to know. “The entire Colorado State men’s basketball team, athletic programme and university will be there to support and help Emmanuel in any way we can through this incredibly tough time in his life.”