Five members of a family of six in Igboetche community, in the Etche Local Government Area of Rivers, have been killed by generator fumes.
The incident, which occurred on Monday, was said to have taken the lives of Andrew Monye; his wife, Onyinye Monye; and three of their four children.
It was learnt that the family had put on their generator and left it in the bathroom before going to bed.
Sources said the generator fumes circulated the building, leaving five members of the family dead.
It was gathered that the children that lost their lives were two girls (15 and 11 years old) and a five-year-old boy, while the only child that survived was 13 years old.
It was learnt that the survivor was rushed to a nearby hospital for medical attention.
“Five out of the six family members died in their sleep as a result of generator fumes. The generator was kept in their bathroom and the carbon monoxide that the generator emitted must be responsible for their death,” a source in Igboetche said.
Another member of the community told newsmen that though the generator was always left outside, the family decided to take it inside the bathroom because of the high rate of stealing in the community.
“They (family members) decided to take the generator in because there is a law that generators should be put off by 11pm. The law came up because of the stealing in the community,” he said.
However, some relatives of the family said the victims were poisoned.
“What happened was shocking; a family of five died just like that. I suspect that they put the generator inside the house because of the stealing and other crimes in our village.
“When we forced the door open, we saw them dead. That was why we reported it at the Umuebele Police Station. It was the police that took the bodies to the mortuary.
“As an Etche youth, I want the police to increase their work here and help us in arresting the criminals disturbing us; we are suffering,” a resident, Uche, said.
A villager, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Their (deceased) mouths were foaming and some of them had vomited. It was the surviving child that alerted the house builders opposite their compound that his parents and siblings did not wake up from sleep.
“They followed him inside the building and found the family dead. They also alerted their neighbours who informed the police about the tragedy. The police took the corpses to a mortuary.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the death of the five family members.
Omoni added that investigation had started into the circumstances that led to their death.