Tragedy struck on Friday morning when three men and a woman who newly moved packed into an apartment on Reachman Estate, behind Anglican Girl Grammar School, Asaba, Delta State, were found dead.
The victims, who were in their mid thirties, packed into the estate on Tuesday.
The cause of their death could not be ascertained as of press time, but some neighbours attributed the death to generator fumes.
An eyewitness, a neighbour, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said, “I don’t know any of them but one of them who is the original tenant on this estate is one Mr Mike from Isoko whose father was still in the mortuary before this incident.
They packed in two days ego. Since Wednesday, their door had been locked and we were wondering why they did not come out. It was in that process we informed the police.
“Policemen broke the door and found five of them lying on the floor. Four of them were already dead while one was in a coma. We immediately rushed him to the hospital. Their generator was on till 10am on Thursday before it went off by itself.”
Another neighbour, who described the incident as pathetic, also said he saw the victims packing their loads into a newly rented apartment on Tuesday. “With the look of things, it seems generator fumes killed them,” he added.
Another neighbour who identified himself as Odogwu said other occupants of the building raised alarm over the well being of the new tenants who had not come out of their flat even when rains had soaked their belongings.
Odogwu said: “At night, we discovered that even when it rained on their properties, they did not come out and then we knew all was not well because no sane person will leave his properties under the rain when he can take them inside.
“This morning we became worried that they did not care for their properties and that was why we invited the police so that we can ascertain if all was well behind closed door”.
The landlord of the building, Onuoha Okonji who also chatted with newsmen, expressed surprised that four more persons had joined the original tenant who he identified as Maxwell from Ozoro.
Saying he was shocked when he got a distressing call about the tragedy, Okonji said Maxwell was introduced to him by an agent and they concluded transactions before the said Maxwell moved in.
Chairman of the estate, Clement Okafor suspected that the victims may have died due to prolonged inhaling of carbon mono oxide from the generator.
Lamenting that the estate has been without public power supply for over two years, Okafor called on the management of the Benin Electricity Distribution Company to activate the electricity transformer in the area.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, who confirmed the incident on Friday, said the dead bodies had been deposited at the morgue in the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, for autopsy.
She added, “Investigation is ongoing to unravel the circumstances leading to the death of the four occupants of the estate.”