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Mampong fire victims buried

Mampong fire victims buriedIt was a sorrowful spectacle to behold yesterday at the Mampong Hospital grounds when family members and sympathisers of the late Rev. Isaac Adu Botchey and his children gathered to bid them farewell.

Grief-stricken mourners and family members looked in awe at the caskets containing the remains of the deceased as they lay in front of them at the funeral grounds.

Dressed in mostly black apparel to depict their mood, the mourners wore sad looks as they sat through the entire service, which was presided over by Apostle Justice Owusu Afriyie of the King Jesus House of Prayer Chapel.

Although the family and the church provided some chairs and canopies for the mourners, most of the chairs were rendered useless, as many decided to sit on the ground, while others stood throughout the service.

Sombre atmosphere

Mourners could not hold back their tears when they saw the six caskets containing the remains of the late reverend minister, his four children and his younger brother lined up at the forecourt of the hospital.

Due to the charred nature of the bodies, the caskets were not opened for public viewing.

The mourners included congregants of the King Jesus House of Prayer Chapel, where Rev. Botchey was a pastor; pupils from his children’s school; the town folk and staff of the Obuasi Government Hospital where Rev. Botchey was the Estate Manager.

The solemn service was intermittently interrupted by wailing by the sympathisers.

The widow, Mrs Lydia Botchey, was missing in action and checks showed that she had not been able to overcome the pain and shock of losing her husband and her children. She could not compose herself to be at the burial service.

Personnel from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) and the Ghana Police Service, who provided security, had a hell of a time controlling the crowd that sought to accompany the cortege of hearses to the cemetery.

Deceased

Rev. Adu Botchey and his younger brother, Jonathan Adu Botchey, a third-year student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science Technology (KNUST), as well as Eben, Lovia, Isaac and Princess Adu Botchey, all children of the pastor, got burnt beyond recognition when fire engulfed their house at Worakese, a suburb of Mampong, last Friday.

Efforts by neighbours to save them proved futile, as the neighbours were unable to break the burglar-proof metal that served as security to enable the family to escape.

Although the GNFS responded quickly to the distress call, the intensity of the fire was such that by the time the fire was put out, all the seven occupants of the house had perished.

The seventh person, a visiting pastor, Rev. Owusu Sarfo, had since been buried.

Burial Service

Apostle Owusu Afriyie, who led the burial service, asked the bereaved family to strengthen their faith in God.

He said he was of the firm belief that the church and the family would see Rev Botchey and his children on Resurrection Day.

He expressed the condolence of the church to the bereaved family and quoted Revelation 14:13 to prove that God has power over death.

Suhumhene

The Suhumhene, Osabarima Kofi Ayeh, in the company of the elders and family members of the late Botchey from Suhum, joined the widow’s family to mourn the departed souls.

Tributes

The Mampong Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Mr Mohammed Kojo Aboasu, on behalf of the assembly, expressed condolence to the bereaved family.

He presented an undisclosed sum of money as token to support the affected families and pledged the support of the assembly at all times.

The Member of Parliament for Mampong, Mr Francis Addai Nimoh, was accompanied by his colleague MP for Suhum, Mr Frederick Opare Ansah, to express sympathy to the bereaved family.

He called on the police to intensify investigations into the fire incident.

A number of health workers from the Obuasi Government and Mampong Municipal Hospitals represented the Ghana Health Service to pay tribute in memory of the late Botchey.

A delegation from the Department of Sociology and Social Work, KNUST, also paid tribute to the memory of the late Jonathan Botchey.

Headteachers from both the Mensah Saahene International School, Mampong and the Emmanuel Presbyterian Model School, Mampong, Mohammed Sani and Faustina Amenyedzi respectively also read tributes to the memory of Ebenezer, Lovia, Isaac and Princess.

Many of the tributes that poured in described the late Rev. Botchey as a very dedicated man of God, very hardworking and someone who had fellow feeling for his neighbours.

The church said his death was a great loss to the Christian community and humanity as a whole.

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