On Saturday, January 22, 2022, a fire in the mortuary portion of the General Hospital in Onitsha, Anambra State, destroyed almost 400 bodies.
The fire, which started in a burning shrub behind the morgue and lasted nearly three hours, completely destroyed the mortuary structure behind the hospital.
After a fruitless attempt to extinguish the blaze with water mixed with detergent, the mortuary attendants reportedly summoned the state fire department.
Some relatives who had come to transport their loved ones to be buried burst into tears when they discovered the morgue in ruins and burned bodies littering the area, according to news reports.
“We arrived to remove the corpse of a community member for burial only to find that the bodies in the mortuary had been burned beyond recognition, We’re perplexed; we’re at a loss on what to do.” Charles Ozor stated.
Someone had removed the jungle behind the mortuary and set it on fire, according to an eyewitness who did not want to be recognized.
“The jungle is a little way from the mortuary,” he explained. However, before we realized what was going on, we noticed that the mortuary’s roof had caught fire. Inside the structure, there were approximately 400 bodies. The building was completely enveloped in flames. The fire had caused extensive damage before firemen arrived; most of the bodies had been reduced to ashes, and several had been rendered unrecognizable.
“Firefighters fought to keep the fire from spreading to nearby structures. In reality, the water in their tank had run out, and they had to drive somewhere to get more because the hospital did not have a water facility.”