A National Police Service officer died by suicide after allegedly setting himself ablaze in Chemalal village, Turbo constituency yesterday.
Sammy Chirchir, 49, was attached to Loya police station in Loima within Turkana County, where he had been transferred from Huruma in Eldoret two months ago.
Residents of Chemalal village in Kamagut were left in disbelief after the officer was extensively burnt in his newly constructed home that had been locked from inside.
The officer, who has been in service for the last 24 years, reportedly locked himself in his four-bedroom house, doused his mattress with kerosene and set it on fire.
Confirming the incident, Uasin Gishu police commander Ayub Gitonga said the officer was on sick-off and had travelled to his family home when the incident occurred.
“The officer was at home with his last-born son aged eight years, who witnessed his father burn. There was a gas cylinder in the house, which exploded and the fire completely destroyed the permanent house,” said Gitonga.
The police boss said officers had been deployed to probe the incident, as the deceased did not leave a note behind. His body was moved to the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) Eldoret mortuary.
At the time of the incident, Chirchir’s wife and her first-born son were in Eldoret town with other members of their church choir preparing to shoot a video for a song
Kimutai Kibwana, a neighbour, said he was informed that the officer’s house was on fire at around 11am and when he got to the scene, he could see Chirchir inside his burning house.
“The glass windows were very clear and I could see Chirchir walking from his bedroom to the living area. He was burning and we tried calling him to inquire what was wrong. The doors were locked and our pleas to have him open the door were futile. He said that he ‘wanted to die with his property,” said Kibwana.
Kibwana added that they tried breaking the windows and doors but the fire got worse, bringing the ceilings down until they could no longer see Chirchir. He said that by the time the fire brigade arrived and helped put off the fire, Chirchir had already lost his life.
Another neighbour, who only identified himself as Job, said Chirchir’s son had rushed to his home informing him of the fire. The deceased is said to have sent his son outside before the incident. Job said when he got to the scene, the deceased shouted, telling the forming crowd not to rescue him.
The neighbour said Chirchir had on several occasions threatened to end his life and had once attempted to shoot his children.
Chirchir’s wife, Naomi, said she could not fathom what led to her husband’s actions as they had been living peacefully.
She said her husband was on medication but did not believe that his illness could lead to such an incident. “I woke up in the morning and after our normal morning routine, I got ready to leave for work,” said Naomi.
“However, I met a fellow choir member on the way who reminded me about our scheduled video shoot and we headed to town to begin our shoot. It is then that I was called and informed about this incident,” she added.