I’m Back to Square One, Nigerian Police Officer Laments as House Fire Destroys His Belongings, Begs for Help
- A Nigerian police officer who served for about 20 years, Arastus Dimka, has been left homeless, alongside his wife and kids after fire destroyed their house
- Dimka, 47, was living in a house which belonged to a church member until the fire incident destroyed his belongings
- The police officer is appealing to well-meaning Nigerians to come to his rescue just he urged the Gombe state government to help the owner of the burnt house
Gombe state - Arastus Dimka, a 47-year-old police inspector in Gombe state says he is back to ground zero after a fire incident that razed down his house and destroyed his properties and those of his family members
The father of five who is from Taraba state told The Punch that he has been in the police for about 20 years.
According to Dimka, the house he was staying was burnt on Friday, January 28, around 9am after his wife, who is a teacher, and the children had left for school.
The police officer said he was at home on the fateful day as he was on afternoon shift.
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"So, I was inside because I was on afternoon duty that day. As usual I was supposed to use the opportunity to rest and then prepare for my shift at work. Suddenly, I heard a breezy sound and I began to wonder where the strange sound was coming from.
"In my previous posting, I worked at the airport, so, I am familiar with the sound of a plane. I jumped out of the room immediately only to see that one part of the roof was on fire.
"I began to scream “Go bara! Go bara!” (fire in Hausa language) to alert neighbours but unfortunately, majority of the people had either gone to work or to their shops. I had no other option but to face the fire alone in an attempt to quench it. I got water and poured at it but the fire increased in intensity.
"It was then I remembered that I had documents in the house and I made attempts to go in and pick them. By this time, some neighbours had arrived. I managed to salvage one television and a mattress. I also managed to recover some of my wife’s and children’s belongings before smoke engulfed me. The next I thing I knew was that I found myself at the Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe."
Dimka said he took about hour before he regained consciousness.
Cause of fire incident unknown
The police inspector said he did not know the cause of the fire, noting that he has connected the house to electricity and the cooking gas had been exhausted.
Dimka added that the firewood the family has been cooking with was not anywhere near the building.
Fire service came late
Dimka said though his neighbours later helped him to call the fire service, they were not prompt.
"I was later told that the firemen arrived after the deed had already been done and there was nothing left to salvage. But I don’t begrudge them because it is their work, they alone can tell what their challenges are and the reasons they arrived very late despite calls by my neighbours."
House not my own - Dimka
The police officer also opened up that the house razed down by fire was not his. He said it was built by a member of his church who allowed him to stay there to save him the cost of renting accommodation.
"I lost clothes, cooking utensils, furniture items, I lost over N800,000 worth of items. My children’s school uniforms were all burnt. The house is not my own. It was built by a sister, a member of our church."
I am back to square one - Dimka
Dimka said life after the fire incident has not been easy and pleaded for assistance to get another place to settle his family.
"Someone magnanimously offered us a room to sleep but it has been challenging because the seven of us have been putting up in one room. We have been surviving through the kindness of some persons who cook and share with us."
The police officer added:
"I have gone back to square one; I wish good spirited persons will support me with whatever possible to enable me to bounce back, to continue my role of a responsive father. They should please assist me by any measure possible."
Dimka also urged the Gombe state government to assist the owner of the burnt house.
Olumide Onigbinde commented on Facebook:
"Ahhh! I hope citizens won’t be made to pay part of this cost . Sorry for ur loss Olopa (policeman)".
Charles Uchendu said:
"I had the same experience on 6th January 2022 but honestly it is not a good one. But God will continue to energetize us and restore back all that we lost."
Usman Shehu said:
"Fire disaster is something we sympathize with, may Allah replace what you lost, I pray. You must reflect on your activities as a police. Especially what we see by the roadside."
Adewale Oyebade said:
"A man's true worth is not in abundance of what he possesses. Move on, trust in the Lord, you can do it."
Fire guts controversial Islamic scholar, Sheikh Gumi’s Kaduna residence
In another report, the private residence of a Kaduna-based Islamic Scholar, Shaikh Ahmad Gumi, has been gutted by fire.
The incident happened on Saturday afternoon, February 12.
Details of the fire incident remained unknown and no casualties have been recorded, but the roof of the one-storey building was affected, as residents battled to put off the fire.