Tragedy struck college basketball this week as Colorado State forward Emmanuel Omogbo lost both of his parents in a house fire early Tuesday morning. The blaze, which happened at his parents’ home in Chillum, Md., reportedly killed Caroline (55 years old) and Samson (63) Omogbo on the scene. Making matters even more horrific, Omogbo lost two more family members, Anna and Israel Omijie (twin daughters of Omogbo’s sister) who were declared dead after arriving at the local hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
“This is absolutely heartbreaking for Emmanuel, his family and for all of us that know him,” Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said in a statement. “There are no words to describe how it felt to hear this terrible news earlier today. They were a beautiful family that I enjoyed getting to know. The entire Colorado State men’s basketball team, athletic program and university will be there to support and help Emmanuel in any way we can through this incredibly tough time in his life.”
Omogbo’s sister reportedly leapt from a second-story window to escape the danger. Her health is reportedly on the mend. The source of the fire is not known, but according to reports from the firefighting officials on the scene, nothing “suspicious” is thought to have provoked the inferno.
Omogbo, who has not yet spoken publicly about the tragedy, was born in Nigeria but moved to the United States when he was young. He lived in Hyattsville, Md., before attending college. Remarkably, Colorado State has announced Omogbo is planning to play in CSU’s road game against Air Force on Wednesday night.
The school started a GoFundMe page on Wednesday to help Omogbo. Less than five hours after the page was launched, the $10,000 goal was eclipsed and a new goal of $20,000 was posted. As of this story’s publishing, more than $20,000 have been raised for the cause.
“This account is in compliance with NCAA rules regarding these situations and allows all fans, donors and supporters to contribute to particular expenses for Emmanuel and his family,” Colorado State said in a statement. “NCAA rules permit Colorado State to pay for Emmanuel’s actual and necessary expenses related to his family’s tragedy. The GoFundMe account established by CSU Athletics extends beyond that scope to cover funeral, medical and related expenses. Funds raised in excess of the support needed for those expenses will be donated to a charitable cause, per NCAA bylaws.”
Omogbo, a junior, is averaging 11.4 points and 7.4 rebounds. He transferred after two years at a junior college in Lubbock, Texas.