By Titus Barbu
A five-member household, comprising a mother and four children (two boys and two girls) were discovered dead in their four-bedroom apartment in the Cow Field community of Duport Road, Paynesville, after they reportedly inhaled generator fumes.
However, a lady identified as Cecelia B. Jallah, who is believed to be a neighbor to the deceased, was the only person to speak with this paper. She said their entire community was shocked upon noting that no member of the Manyounga family survived the generator fumes. The deceased include the mother, Owiner, Marie 17, Marnash 9, Prince (a frequent visitor), and Hunt Jeff Manyounga, 14.
It was gathered that the generator kept beating in the kitchen throughout the night and, apparently, carbon monoxide fumes spread throughout the house, where members of the family were asleep.
Cecelia narrated, “Sis Owiner and I were sitting outside by 10:00 p.m. when she called a boy from the next yard to switch on the generator. We all sent our phones for charging after the generator came on. And by 11:00 she asked the same boy and her eldest son to relocate the generator to the kitchen of the house. She told us that the generator was going to sleep on so that her water and juices could freeze better.”
Madam Jallah said she expected her to wake up the following morning as usual but, unfortunately, they did not come out that Tuesday morning.
She added that the absence of Owiner and her children in the morning hours became a matter of heightened concern when a motorcyclist, who used to take the kids to school, arrived and kept knocking endlessly on the doors of the house without any response from within.
“I myself thought that Owiner and the children had left. So I told him it looks like the people had left already,” she said, adding that Owiner usually leaves in the morning to attend to her business around the Duport-Road market.
“The generator was left in the kitchen of the four-bedroom apartment. They were watching television and later went to bed without switching the generator off,” Jallah recalled.
“That morning, when neighbors went to check on them because they had not come out, we discovered that all of them were dead; no member of the family survived it,” Jallah said.
One of the victims, Hunt Jeff Manyounga, was a 7th Grade student at the Aware International School System, a renowned private institution located in the GSA Road Community, Paynesville.
Mourning his student’s death, Mr. Gopinadhan Pillai, the proprietor of the Aware School, described Jeff as “a brilliant student.”
“We are going to miss him because he was so active and participatory in every event organized by our school,” Pillai tearfully explained, adding: ”He was one of our finest basketball players and we lost a very good and entertaining student.”
According to Pillai, his school held a brief memorial service when the information about the death of the Manyoungas, including Jeff, was announced to them.
“We are waiting to hear from the family about the funeral arrangement so that we would get fully involved into preparation regarding the home-going of our illustrious student.”