Delta: CAC Pastor Loses Wife, Four Children To Mysterious Midnight Fire in Warri
SAN FRANCISCO, September 26, (THEWILL) - Tragedy struck at the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), Otumara, Warri, Delta State on Thursday as the parish pastor, Pastor John Kayode, lost five members of his family, including his wife to a mysterious midnight fire outbreak which was said to have ignited by an electricity fault.
The cause of the fire which consumed the mission house as well as part of the main church building is still shrouded in mystery. A source however told THEWILL that a power surge could have caused the fire incident which also destroyed properties worth millions of Naira.
THEWILL learnt that the presiding pastor of the parish was away in Osun State for a conference when the incident which threw the entire parishioners into mourning occurred.
Sources said that the deceased family members of the pastor who were burnt beyond recognition could not escape from the house or get help as the doors were heavily padlocked while the windows had protective iron lock.
It was not clear if the victims were caged in the house by the protective iron work and what could have happened to the keys to the exit door .
A source said that one of the victims actually tried to reach the exit door and banged it severally calling for help which never came.
But giving a graphic details of the incident, a neighbour who gave his name as Bright December said all rescue efforts of those who came early enough were fruitless because of the iron protectors which shielded the victims in.
The neighbour, who spoke amid tears, said the fire must have been sparked off by an electrical fault in the area, which had gotten some people in the area to work tirelessly the previous night seeking solution to power fluctuation problem in the area.
“Last night at about 11pm, some men in the area were going around, it was like they noticed there was light problem, they were trying to trace where the fault could have come from. On the long run, they came like three times and since they couldn't get where the fault was coming from, they left. At about 12 midnight to 12:30am I heard the woman screaming for help; so we came out.
“When I got there, I saw the last daughter of the pastor, standing very close to the window, banging it. There was no way I could help, I saw one rubber out there with which I started scooping water to quell the fire. Later on I saw the woman (pastor's wife), struggling with the door, like a middle wooden door, she was shouting for help while she was trying to open it. The three other children could not be seen struggling at all, it was like they had been choked by the smoke in the house because where they slept was where we found them.
“It took like one hour before one man called fire fighters because it was midnight and we were all shouting and trying to see how to rescue them. It took another one hour before the fire fighters came. By this time, the woman had died, even the little girl. The little girl was found dead close to the window because she was just there banging, but there was no way we could help.
“The windows and the doors were all guarded with protectors, it was difficult to go through, if not , we would have broken through to rescue them. It took about another 15 minutes after I came out before we couldn't hear their voices again,” December said.
Another sympathiser and Secretary of the church, Elder Emmanuel Ogoigbe and Mrs. Margaret Ichibo, who also spoke to newsmen amid pains and tears lamented the tragedy which had befallen the parish's pastor, saying they are still too shocked for proper mental coordination to be able to give the names of the people killed in the fire. They gave the children's ages as between 8 and 18.
“We have not been able to ascertain the cause of the fire, the only people who could have been able to tell us are no more; that's the wife and the four children, two boys and two girls. The pastors had gone for the pastors' conference of CAC in Ikeji-Arakeji in Osun State, so they quickly alerted our zonal chairman, Pastor Orode. Then early this morning, at about 5am, they started coming, they should be in Warri soon,' Ogoigbe said.
Ogoigbe, who doubles as the Sun Newspaper Correspondent in Warri, said; “This is a tragedy, the kind we have never seen before. Our pain is that if the wife and the children had remained alive, we wouldn't have bothered even if the building is burnt, at least the whole church would have still been able to raise money to rebuild.
“They were severely burnt and had been deposited at the Warri Central Hospital's mortuary. The ages of the children were between eight and 18 years; the youngest, a girl, was around eight years, while the eldest, a boy, was about 18 “, Elder Ogoigbe said.
THEWILL has however learnt that the bereaved pastor, Kayode, had been brought back to Warri and is being comforted in the midst of his brethren to forestall any further tragedy that might be pain induced.