A deadly fire claimed the lives of a Seventh-day Adventist pastor’s family in Accra, Ghana, on August 19, 2018. Pastor Ebenezer Ato Kessie was away at camp meeting when fire engulfed his apartment, killing his wife, Linda, their two children, his mother-in-law, and his wife’s niece, according to a report from the Southern Ghana Union Conference posted on the Adventist News Network site.
According to a news report in Ghana’s Graphic Online newspaper, Kessie’s mother-in-law, Grace Ampah, and a 9-year-old niece were visiting the home to help Linda Kessie take care of the Kessies’ three-week-old son, their second child, who had still to be named. Linda was a teacher at Valley View University Basic School in Accra. The couple’s 4-year-old son also died in the fire.
The newspaper reported that the fire is estimated to have started about 5:00 a.m. and that firefighters from the Ghana National Fire Service were only able to bring it under control about four hours later. Police were treating the location provisionally as a crime scene as they try to determine the cause of the fire.
Graphic Online’s report described the pastor’s home as being in an apartment complex in which four pastors’ families lived. Kwabena Ofori Amoah, communication director of the Accra City Conference of the Adventist Church, told the newspaper that the Kessies occupied a three-bedroom apartment on the top floor. The church has still to come to terms with such a tragedy, and “it is really heartbreaking,” he is quoted as saying.
Other local church leaders shared their thoughts after visiting Kessie and offering him their support and condolences. “This is a most tragic incident,” Southern Ghana Union Conference president Thomas Techie Ocran told the local membership. “We can only pray that God will be their source of comfort.”
On Facebook, GhanaSDA, a U.S.-based group that seeks to connect and engage with Adventist Ghanaians around the world, asked readers to keep the affected family in prayer. They also reminded followers of the Bible’s promise found in Revelation 21:4: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
According to Ghana’s Adom News, local church leaders announced that the funeral and burial ceremony will take place on Sunday, August 26.