Tragedy struck at the Christ Aposlotic Church (CAC), Otumara, Warri in Delta State yesterday, as five members of a family, with the exception of the father, who is a pastor in the church, died in a midnight fire, believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.
The inferno completely destroyed the mission house as well as part of the main church building of the church, destroying properties estimated at millions of naira.
When Daily Sun visited the scene, leaders and members of the church who spoke in tears, lamented the loss, which fell on the congregation, especially their parish pastor, John Kayode, whose entire family was ‘burnt beyond recognition’ in the incident.
According to some elders of the church and neighbours, the leader had gone for a pastors’ conference in Osun State and that the fire occurred midnight, the family members, all sealed indoors by heavily locked doors and protective iron works.
A neighbour, Bright December, who narrated the tragedy to journalists at the scene said all rescue efforts of those who came early enough were fruitless because of the iron protectors.
According to him, the general belief was that the fire must have been caused by an electrical fault in the area, which had forded people to work tirelessly the previous night, to solve the fluctuating power supply.
“Last night at about 11pm, some men were going around, it was like they noticed there was light problem, they were like 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 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 louvres, banging on them. There was no way I could help, I saw one rubber out there with which I started scooping water to put out 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 with 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 fifteen minutes after I came out before we couldn’t hear their voices again”, December narrated.