The maid sat on a low stool in the backyard washing the baby’s clothes. The two older kids were in one of the bedrooms overlooking the backyard. They were playing hide and seek behind the curtains and saw a match box on the table. It was probably used the previous night. They decided to change the game. They would light a match and blow it off almost immediately.

They did this for a while before one of them got distracted and did not blow off the match when he should have. The match burnt his fingers and he threw it on the floor under the curtain. They got tired of the game and left the room to play another game. The match stick lighted the curtain and gradually, the other curtain went ablaze. Soon the room was on fire and smoke seeped into the next room where the baby slept.

The maid wondered why she could smell something burning. She wasn’t cooking. Maybe it was from the next house. She stood up to dry the clothes she had washed on the line and her eyes caught sight of the landing. She ran into the house, up the stairs and to the room where the baby slept. She picked her up, dragged the other two kids out of the house and started shouting for help.

It was a weekday and most residents of the estate had gone to work. A neighbour heard the maid’s cry for help and came out to see what the problem was. The three rooms upstairs were on fire. He quickly went into his house and called the kids’ father’s office on his NITEL landline. A call was also placed to the fire service and the location was given.

By this time, the rooms in the second house was already on fire. The houses in the estate were built wall to wall. Residents started to gather to see how they could help salvage the situation while they awaited the fire service. Some took buckets of water and poured omo into it. They tried to douse the fire but it was difficult. No one could risk going into a burning house. The only option was to try to put off the fire from the outside by splashing the soapy water upwards.

The fire continued to rage taking with it the three rooms in each of the two houses. The fire service arrived and everyone was hopeful. They however, apologized that they had no water so they could not kill the fire. The third house was about to lose its rooms when a water tanker passed by. The driver was meant to deliver his product to a house within the estate. He saw the houses burning and people frantically trying to douse the fire. He immediately drove towards the houses and poured all the content of his vehicle killing the fire instantly.

The driver of the water tanker became the hero. He saved the day.


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