June 24, 2024

Worshippers recount ordeal as fire guts Christ Embassy HQ

Christ Embassy Hqtrs Fire: We’ll build a better, more glorious one - Pastor Chris Oyakhilome

…Lagos govt probes mysterious inferno
…We’ll build a better, bigger church —Oyakhilome

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Ebunoluwa Sessou

Worshippers and members of Love World International, commonly known as Christ Embassy, are recounting their ordeals, following yesterday’s mysterious fire that razed both the administrative block and the main auditorium of the church headquarters, in Oregun, Lagos State.

The cause of the fire, which completely razed the ground floor of the church, leaving it in ruins, remained unknown at the time of this report.

However, unconfirmed reports blamed the incident on a power surge from the electrical appliances.
Church workers and other members of the church who were preparing for the Sunday service were said to have scampered for safety.

It was learnt that the fire started around 7am and was put off around 3:10pm preventing worshippers from holding service at the church auditorium.

They were taken to Asese, the Crusade Ground along Lagos/Ibadan expressway, Ogun State to hold service.

One of the members of the church identified as Chinonso, said, it was because the church held its one week programme that was to end with a thanksgiving service at the Asese Camp ground hence the inferno did not lead to any casualty.

He said “I thank God that nobody was in the church when the incident started. We were informed about the incident at another branch of the church at Toyin Street, Ikeja during the service. We saw the building of our headquarters on fire on social media. We cried but yet give thanks to God that nobody died or was injured.”

Another member, identified as Jude, revealed that the church has a trained fire personnel and water hydrant system on standby to address cases of fire outbreak.

Similarly, another member, Onyinyechi Elizabeth, said “It was not an ordinary fire. It was a spiritual attack. We could not believe that this incident would happen to this place. It is an enemy at work. Why has it not happened all this while? It is to cause a setback. This is a great loss.”

Also, Chibuke Chukwu, another member, said, “It is terrible. It is not expected and we thank God that no life was lost. God knows the best. Pastor Chris is right now at Asese in a programme and all other senior pastors are with him.”

One of the passersby and a member of Household of God, Henry Egbuna, recounted his experience, saying, “When I saw the fire in the morning, I thought it was a tyre that was burning. Surprisingly, I saw firefighters who came to the scene of the incident. But some people from the church prevented them from gaining entrance to the church. They then went through another entrance which was an event centre beside the church with a ladder to gain entrance to the church.”

Oyakhilome speaks

On his part, the President of Love World International also known as Christ Embassy, Reverend Chris Oyakhilome, urged members of the church not to worry over the incident, saying “We built that with what we know, imagine what we are going to do with what we know now. When things like this happen do not be moved.

When something like this happens, God gives us an opportunity to build a better one and a more beautiful one.

“We must look at life from the spiritual, this is not an accident. We are going to do something better “


Speaking, the General Manager, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Dr. Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu said,”When the emergency responders came on board, we were able to curtail the fire and we tried our best to address the secondary challenges such as structural defects and evacuations.

“Interestingly, there have been no casualties or injuries despite the massive fire, and efforts are being made to completely extinguish it.

“With the cooperation of the community, we have been able to curtail the major incident from escalating further than necessary.

“We were able to respond on time and prompt action to ensure that casualties are not recorded and we were able to prevent the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings.”

LASEMA’s excavator had been deployed to pull down some parts of the building to ensure complete extinguishment and prevent further structural collapse

Lagos govt probes fire

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has begun investigation to unravel the cause of the fire.
Director, Lagos Fire and Rescue Service, Margaret Adeseye, among others, said, “This is to tell Lagosians to be calm. The fire at Christ Embassy’s Church, Headquarters, Alausa, Ikeja, was later put out.

“As of the time of this report, no record of life lost. We are on ground ensuring safety of lives and property. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, and investigations are underway to ascertain its origin.

“No casualties have been reported at this time. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”