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05.01.2007 Sports

Four Perish In Bizarre Fire Outbreak-Watch Video


A 45-year-old woman at Kwadaso, Kumasi, who had persistently threatened to commit suicide finally carried out her brutal intentions at dawn yesterday.

The woman only identified as Konadu, set the family bedroom ablaze killing herself and her son in the process.

The fire also killed her mother, identified as Maame Asantewaa, and Maame Asantewaa's four-year-old grandson, Paa Kwesi, who was attending school at Bethel Preparatory in Kumasi.

The 14-year-old son, a JSS boy, identified as Yaw Anin, was also attending school at Bethel JSS in Kumasi. Konadu, who was said to be diabetic, asthmatic, hypertensive and an ulcer patient, was alleged to have accused her mother, Maame Asantewaa, of being the principal cause of her woes and had threatened to commit suicide on countless occasions but had been advised by family members to desist from such an action.

According to family sources, Konadu had also threatened that she would also kill her 14-year-old son anytime she committed suicide to prevent him from suffering from any social and financial problems.

She carried out her intentions when she set their two-bedroom apartment at Kwadaso Estate on fire, locked the doors and concealed the keys to prevent anybody from entering to rescue them.

When her 75-year-old mother saw that they had been trapped and had no means of escaping, she attempted to push the four-year-old boy through the window but he was also trapped in the iron bars in the window, making it impossible for the rescue team outside to help.

When help finally came, the four-year-old boy, together with Maame Asantewaa, Anin and the arsonist had been burnt beyond recognition.

Their bodies have been deposited at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) mortuary for autopsy.
The police have also initiated investigations into the incident.

Briefing the Daily Graphic on the incident, the landlady, Madam Akua Afriyie, said Maame Asantewaa had been her in-law who had been taking care of their grandson, Paa Kwesi.

She explained that both Paa Kwesi's father, who is her son, and his wife, have travelled abroad and so catering for the young boy became Maame Asantewaa's responsibility.

She said two years ago, Konadu started visiting her mother, Maame Asantewaa, in the house at Plot 39, Block A, Kwadaso Estate, and not long afterwards, she started quarrelling with her mother, accusing her of being the cause of her ailment.

She explained that Konadu was at that time suffering from various diseases, including diabetes, ulcer, hypertension and asthma, and was, therefore, hospitalised on countless occasions.

Madam Afriyie said just last Tuesday Konadu again threatened to commit suicide so family members advised her against the threat. But she carried out her threat by setting their family bedroom ablaze.

Explaining, Madam Afriyie said at about 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, she heard some people shouting and banging the doors that the house was on fire.

She said when the tenants assembled at the main house, they got to know that the four deceased persons had been trapped, since their main bedroom was on fire with the doors locked and the keys removed.

According to the landlady, when the tenants attempted to rescue the deceased family, Maame Asantewaa, who was then alive, shouted that it was Konadu who had set the room ablaze and concealed the keys to prevent any of them from escaping.

She said at that time Maame Asantewaa attempted to push her four-year-old grandson through the windows to prevent him from burning but he was also trapped in the iron bars.

She said by the time personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service arrived on the scene to put out the fire all the four persons had been burnt beyond recognition.

Meanwhile Nana Yaw Barimah reports that the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah accompanied by his Deputy, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, led the Ashanti Regional Security committee (RESEC) to visit the scene of the tragedy.

The Ashanti Regional Minister was moved when he learnt that the four year-old child who made frantic efforts to escape was later burnt by the fire.

Mr Owusu-Ansah on behalf of the government expressed his condolences to the bereaved family and assured them that the police and personnel of the Ghana National Fire Service would investigate the circumstances that led to the incident.

Story by George Ernest Asare,

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