Fire kills SDA pastor's wife, 3 children and mother-in-law at Dansoman
Five family members of the Pastor of the Dansoman District of the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church, including his wife and his three-week-old baby boy, were burnt to death in a fire that engulfed their home at Dansoman Akokofoto in Accra yesterday.
Apart from the nursing mother and her baby, who was yet to be given a name, Pastor Ebenezer Kessie lost another child, his 65-year-old mother-in-law and his wife’s nine-year-old niece.
Information gathered by the Daily Graphic showed that Pastor Kessie’s mother-in-law, Grace Ampah, and the nine-year-old girl, Precious Pokuaa, had visited Mrs Linda Kessie to help her take care of the newborn baby.
The above is a video of the incident captured by an eyewitness from afar.
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The fire, the Daily Graphic learnt, started about 5 a.m. yesterday and was brought under control by firemen from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) around 9 a.m.
Pastor Kessie, who is also the Assistant Communications Director of the Accra City Conference of the SDA, had gone for a camp meeting and was, therefore, not in the house when the tragedy struck his family.
The bodies of the five deceased persons have been deposited at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital morgue.
Pastor Kessie in a pose with the wife and child.
The cause of the fire was yet to be identified as of the time of going to press.
The house had been designated a crime scene when the Daily Graphic team got there, with investigators and forensic experts combing through the rubble to make a sense of what had actually happened.
Scores of curious onlookers and members of the SDA Church had trooped there to confirm for themselves the rumours they had heard.
The visibly burnt top floor of the two-storey building, the smoke that was still emanating from the building and the extent of destruction at the top floor were enough evidence that tragedy had befallen Pastor Kessie and the SDA Church.
The ground floor of the house was, however, not affected by the fire, but some of the occupants were seen packing some of their belongings to move out.
The Communications Director of the Accra City Conference of the SDA, Mr Kwabena Ofori Amoah, said Pastor Kessie and his family occupied a three-bedroom apartment on the left side of the top floor.
“This house is for the church and is being occupied by four pastors — two at the top and two down,’’ he said.
He described the incident as a tragedy with which the church was yet to come to terms.
“It is really sad; for someone to lose his wife, his mother-in-law, two of his children and another loved one is really ,’’ he said.
Shouting for help
The Treasurer of the Accra City Conference of the church and one of the first people to rush to the scene after the fire broke out, Mr Charles Quaye, told the Daily Graphic that the five persons trapped in the fire were heard shouting for help.
According to him, the shouting stopped after a while, and when firemen eventually broke into the house, the five were dead.
Mrs Kessie and her two children, he said, were found dead in the bathroom, while Madam Ampah and Pokuaa were found dead in another part of the house.
“It looks like the mother wanted to protect her two children and so she took them to the bathroom in an attempt to use the water to cool off the heat, but, unfortunately, they died,’’ he said.
Pictures by an eyewitness.