The commercial city of Aba in Abia State witnessed a mishap yesterday when a six-year-old child died from fumes from a generating set, while15 others were unconscious. The 16 persons, all natives of Ututu in Arochukwu Local Government Area of the state, were among the attendees of an inter-denominational all- night fellowship at the Young Peoples Christian Fellowship at No. 5 Eziukwu Road, Aba.
After the vigil, the people were said to have decided to pass the night at the centre. But as they went to sleep, they left the generating set on at the corridor and closed the adjourning windows.
Fumes from the generating set was said to have enveloped the hall while they were asleep, suffocating the six- year-old child whose gender could not be immediately ascertained to death while 15 others were unconscious. People only came to know about what happened when a
man who brought one of the affected persons to the venue of the vigil attempted to reach her without success. The man was said to have rushed to the venue of the vigil and dialled the lady’s phone number, which rang out without any response and he alerted the police.
The Area Commander for Aba, ACP Peter Wagbara reportedly mobilized his men who on getting to the scene looked through the glass door and found the members of the group lying on the floor unconscious.
While the child was found dead, the 15 other persons were still breathing and police immediately evacuated them to two hospitals within the area. When police searched the area, they found a generating set that had exhausted its fuel but was still hot, suggest- ing that its fumes caused the havoc. This was more so when it was discovered there was a noxious odour in the air of the warehouse-turned- church, which gave them the impression that the worship- ers may have inhaled carbon monoxide.
Dr Philip Richard, Senior Pastor, Word Alive Assembly, Aba who is the secretary of pastors from Arochukwu in Aba said the worshipers were all natives of Ututu in Aro- chukwu LGA. “I was not there but I had a phone call telling me this morning that the believers from Ututu in Arochukwu who went to pray in a church in Aba had all died.
“I left all that I was doing to get to the scene of the event. We have a fellowship of believers of Ututu origin in Aba and they came to pray for themselves and their commu- nity at this venue.
“But I was not there. They are from various churches and not from one church. The husband and wife whose child died are from my own church,” he said. However, those taken to hospital were said to be responding to treatment.