He was extremly tired but he took the time to ask them what the problem was.
"Toni and Tosin," he asked, as he drank a glass of cool water, and wiped his brow. "What is the matter? Why are you fighting?"
"Toni hid my Ben Ten watch!" exclaimed the older Tosin.
"Toni why?" asked their father, as he placed the glass cup on the table. Then he changed his mind.
"I don't want to know why," he added. "Just give the watch back to your brother."
"Yes daddy" the six year old muttered.
One hour later, Toni was still looking for the watch, as he had forgotten where he hid it.
Tosin was getting more upset and shouting so much, that their father woke up and called them again.
Toni was again instructed to give the watch back, while Tosin was told not to make any more noise.
Two hours later, Mr. Takiti woke up in a smoke-filled room, coughing. It was the urge to cough that woke him up, and probably saved his life.
He staggered out of the house, to find that fire was burning in his apartment, and two other flats in the compound. The smoke had filled his lungs, so he just kept coughing and eventually sunk to the ground. Neighbors and helpers were busy trying to save as much property as possible from the fire that refused to reduce.
Everyone sighed collectively when the siren of the fire engine was heard coming closer.
By the time the fire finally died down, the three apartments were nothing but charred walls, with caved in roofs and burnt out interiors.
The story unfolded gradually, after everyone sat down to rest and watch the firemen do their job. Toni had remembered where he put the watch, and scrambled under the bed, to get it. Unfortunately it had gone dark early, so he needed illumination to find it under the bed. Instead of getting the torchlight or his father's phone and using its flashlight app, Toni had gone to get a candle.
Of course the bed caught fire.
To try to stop the fire, the children grabbed the first big paper they could find: carbon paper. It got worse, fast, so they ran out of the house, shouting 'Fire! Fire!'.
They forgot that their father was sleeping in the other room, and left him in the house, as the fire rapidly spread.
I still find it hard to believe that they would have forgotten their own biological father, inside a burning building.
At least three families were devastated: almost nothing survived the fire, that had begun with a simple small candle. Only our family friend's house was left intact. All most of them had left, was the clothes on their backs. Even the family with a four month old baby had no clothes for the baby.
When I heard about the baby, I began gathering all Jaden's old clothes until I had a big bagful. Then I called the family friend to inquire if the gift of clean used clothes would be acceptable. She said yes, so I took the bag to church, and gave her after service, to help give the family.
I am still in shock at the rapid rate the fire must have progressed.
The boys were no more than six and eight years old. Was there something they could have done to prevent this? Didn't they know better than to play with fire?
I wonder how their father will repair the damage done now. I imagine that he would have to realise the money to repair the house for the landlord. I also imagine that there was no insurance, for him or the other affected tenants. Some may demand for replacements for every property lost.