Fire Kills Mum, Baby

A woman and her one-year-old baby were yesterday burnt to death in a fire outbreak at Mataheko in Accra. The 28-year-old woman and mother of three was sleeping with her children, her husband and her brother in a two-bedroom apartment at Mataheko Mars School Junction when the incident happened about 3 a.m. The bodies of the woman and her baby were identified as Pearl Arlu and Shamalisa Arlu respectively. 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. Meanwhile, her husband, Mr Don Arlu, and his two children, aged five and three, are currently on admission at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. The 13-year-old brother of Pearl, who was sleeping in a room next to the living room, escaped unhurt. Candle light It is believed that the fire outbreak was caused by a lit candle in the living room. Mr Arlu told the police on his sick bed that they had lit a candle when a power outage occurred last Wednesday night, but contrary to the usual practice of putting the candle in a metal bowl filled with water, the candle was put in a bowl without water. A co-tenant in the house, Ms Ophelia Ampadu, told the Daily Graphic that about 3 a.m. last Wednesday, she heard Mr Arlu shouting for help, which attracted the attention of the other tenants and neighbours. “He was shouting: ‘Someone save me and my family oo! Someone help me and my children oo!’ 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 Arlus was broken down, while some other Good Samaritans tried to quench the fire with buckets of water. Ms Ampadu, who said she had lived in the house for three years, stated that the Arlu family moved to the house barely two years ago. She said the lights went off at 9 p.m. last Wednesday “and as of the time I was going to bed, the power had not been restored. I do not even know when the light came on”. When the Dansoman Police were contacted, they confirmed the incident and said the case was reported to them about 7 a.m. yesterday. The scene When the Daily Graphic visited the scene, the bodies of the victims had been moved to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital morgue. The living room and one of the bedrooms believed to be where Mr Arlu and his two sons were sleeping had all the furniture, an air-conditioner and mattresses burnt to ashes. The rooms were drenched with the water used to quench the fire, while broken louvre blades were scattered on the floor.