Six houses were razed and property of unknown value destroyed after a mysterious fire struck a homestead at Ulanda village in Kaugagi – Udenda sub-location in Siaya County.
Villagers were left dumbfounded as the fire, which started in a hut belonging to the first wife in a polygamous home of Fredrick Opondo Monday, spread to five others despite attempts to contain it.
According to one of Otada’s wives, Joyce Achieng, the family had noticed fire coming from her co-wife’s hut and rushed to put it down, but as they were doing so, another was immediately spotted at the second wife’s hut.
She said this forced Good Samaritans to divide into two groups to try and put off the second one, but before they could succeed, the third wife’s hut also burst into flames.
The villagers were later to witness the fourth, fifth and sixth wives huts go up in flames, as they watched helplessly.
One of Otada’s daughters, Petronila Aluoch said she was washing her school uniform outside their house when she saw fire at the roof of her mother’s house.
She raised alarm and notified one of her step mothers, but before long, other houses also caught fire, one after the other.
Her aunt, Juliana Auma, who was at their home, said despite quick response from the villages, nothing could be salvaged as the inferno was too much to be handled with bare hands.
Speaking to journalists, Otada said he was in Siaya town where he operates a matatu when he was informed of the incident: “I rushed home only to realize that it was not one hut, but six belonging to my wives,” he lamented.
He said that despite the massive loss, no life was lost during the tragedy. Otada described the tragedy as mysterious, adding that there were no people in the huts during the incident and that nobody cooks in the huts.
Villagers said this was the first time such a bizarre fire was witnessed in the area but added that about five years ago, a similar incident was witnessed in the neighbouring Usonga location where several families were left homeless at Nyandheho village.
Siaya county Administration police commander, Patrick Lumumba confirmed the incident, adding that no life was lost, while investigations have been launched into the incident.
By Philip Onyango