Death toll in Mataheko fire now three

Explosion FireThe fire outbreak that led to the death of a mother and her one-year-old baby at Mataheko in Accra on December 18 last year has claimed the life of a third person, five-year old Joshua Arlu.

He died 10 days after his 28-year-old mother, Pearl Arlu, and one-year-old sister Shamalisa Arlu were burnt to death when the family’s two-bedroom house at Mataheko Mars School Junction caught fire at dawn.

A 13-year-old brother of Pearl who was sleeping in a room next to the living room escaped unhurt.

Joshua was admitted to the emergency unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital together with his father, Mr Don Arlu, and his three-year-old sister. His body has been deposited at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital morgue as the others.

Appeal for support

A brother of Mr Arlu, Mr Gabriel Ameyao, told the Daily Graphic that the “family is more than devastated by the latest death. We are already grieving over the death of a mother and child and were hoping that our brother and his children will receive treatment and get well”.

He said the family was currently facing difficulty meeting the medical bills of the two victims receiving treatment at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

According to him, the family spends not less than GH¢500 on drugs for the two each day, “and that is really draining us financially”.

Mr Ameyao, therefore, appealed to the public and public-spirited institutions to support the family to pay the hospital bills of the two victims.

Candle light

On the day of the incident, the body of the baby was found almost charred in the living room of the burnt apartment, while that of the mother was located a few metres away.

It is believed that the fire outbreak was caused by a lit candle in the living room of the apartment.

Mr Arlu told the police on his hospital bed that they had lit a candle during a power outage and that the candle was placed in a bowl filled with water which was the usual practice by the family.

A co-tenant in the house, Ms Ophelia Ampadu, said the fire started at about 3 a.m.

She said she heard Mr Arlu shouting for help, which attracted the attention of other tenants and neighbours.

“When we came out, we saw smoke coming out of the room. There was fire in the window and the whole place was dark,” she said.

With the help of some young men, Ms Ampadu said, the main door to the apartment of the Arlu’s was broken down, while some other good Samaritans tried to quench the fire with buckets of water.

Fire scene

At the fire scene on the day of the incident, the contents of the living room, the bedroom believed to be where Mr Arlu and his two sons were sleeping, as well as an air conditioner and mattresses were all burnt to ashes.

The water that was used by the neighbours to quench the fire and scattered broken louvres remained at the scene.