Tragedy struck in the early hours of Saturday 8, September 2018 as the publisher of Brand Campaign, Mr. Akinwunmi Dickson, 51 and his first son, Nelson, 10 were reportedly killed in a mysterious fire which gutted the two-storey building that houses his office on Awolowo Road Ikeja, Lagos.
The two-storey building-turned shopping complex has several shops where goods such as clothes and electronics are sold.
The DailyBells gathered that the fire incident occurred at about 4. am while the deceased were fast asleep.
It was gathered that the fire was caused by an air conditioner which an occupant left unplugged in one of the shops in the building.
Our correspondent gathered that late Akinwunmi had resorted to pass the night in his office with his son on Friday because he needed to sort out some assignments before travelling to his home town, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state as early as possible the following morning.
The late journalist and his son had found it difficult to escape as a result of heavy smoke which had enveloped his apartment.
An eyewitness, Wasiu Hamsat, said the 50-year-old, who published a brand magazine, Brand Campaign, and his son were choked to death by the smoke of the fire, adding that their corpses were found at the entrance of Akinwunmi’s office.
The Lagos State indigene said, “I was asleep when I heard a noise around 5am. People were shouting that a building was on fire. We quickly called the fire service.
“When they did not show up on time, people were forced to break into the shop which was on fire. That was around 6am. But the smoke was much and nobody could enter. It was the smoke that killed the journalist and his son because the fire did not gut his office.
“At times, if there was traffic, he usually slept in the office. No one knew he was inside the office because everybody was busy finding a way to put out the fire.
“Before we knew they were there, it was too late. They had struggled to open the door, but could not see anything because the smoke was much. In fact, people found them dead at the back entrance to his office.”
The policemen from Wemabod station confirmed to DailyBells that people could not gain entrance to Dickson’s office during search and rescue because it was locked from inside.
According to the policemen, they took Dickson’s body and son through the window through the help of the fire fighters.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, confirming the incident in a statement, said the corpses had been taken to a morgue.
Oti said, “On September 9, 2018, around 5.20am, there was a distress call to the police control room that there was a fire at a shopping complex and a residential building on Awolowo way, Ikeja, Lagos.
“One of the shops where the fire started was completely gutted; one Akinwunmi Dickson, 50, and his son, Nelson Dickson, 10, who slept in one of the shops used as an office in the building were choked to death as a result of smoke from the burnt shop.
“Various patrol vehicles provided security. Values of property destroyed have not yet been estimated. The corpses have been taken to IDH mortuary, Yaba, for autopsy. Investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing.”
The Public Affairs Officer, Lagos State Fire Service, Mrs Bola Ajao, also confirmed the incident to our correspondent, adding that the nearest fire stations were mobilised to the scene.
She said, “Our control room were informed around 5.40am and we arrived at the scene of the fire around 5.44am. Ikeja Fire Station responded, while Alausa Fire Station provided the back up a few minutes later.
“The fire affected four shops on the first floor of a three-storyed building. A male adult and a teenager were recovered and handed over to State Environmental Health Monitoring Unit.”
Late Akinwunmi, a veteran brand journalist and Treasurer of the Brand Journalists Association of Nigeria, BJAN had just two weeks ago celebrated the seventh year anniversary of his magazine, Brand Campaign, where he also launched a special edition of the magazine which chronicled 50 most influential marketing communication practitioners in Nigeria.
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