Neighbors mistakenly call firefighters after hearing Nigerian shout ‘Holy Ghost fire’ in prayer
Firefighters were called to a North London home after neighbours mistook house owner singing ‘Holy Ghost Fire!’ for a call for assistance.
Mercy, 60, who regularly attends her local place of worship and prays along with her daily church session on Facebook Live, was taken aback when two fire engines arrived at her home on Wednesday morning of August 11.
Vivienne, 26 daughter and fellow singer who featured on ITV’s The Voice in 2020, had just returned home from the gym and says she witnessed firefighters park outside the family home within minutes of entering the property.
The singer said: “Within seven minutes, two fire brigades pulled up and at first I thought ‘there’s no way, there’s no way’.
Vivienne wasn’t sure who dialled 999, but she thought one of their neighbours overheard her “prayer warrior” mother shouting the fervent gospel lyrics during the webcast sermon’s call and response part.
“I came back from the gym so I caught the aftermath of it, but I could hear her praying,” the Londoner explained.
“She prays to a Facebook live stream that she watches every morning on Facebook.
“She was was kind of doing the call and response thing. I could hear it as I was coming up and kind of said ‘hi’ and went in the house”.
The firefighters were bewildered, according to Vivienne, when they asked if anyone had been shouting the word “fire.”
Vivienne said: “They said we’ve been called for fire, and we said ‘there isn’t one’ and then confirmed the address and they said ‘are you sure, have you checked everything’s fine?’.”
The Londoner stood there watching as the perplexed firemen departed the house after questioning the family, “to go and listen to the original call,” before returning to clear up their misunderstanding.
“They came back and said, ‘We’re not being funny, but was anyone shouting the word “fire”?’ said the North London resident.
Vivienne and her mother, Mercy, say they were hesitant to explain why the matriarch’s impassioned yelling had been misinterpreted as an alarm.
The 26-year-old said: “I thought, ‘I’m not going to answer personally’, and my mum was like ‘mmm I’m not sure, I’m not sure’.
“The firemen said, ‘it’s fine if you were, it’s just that somebody called and said that’s what they could hear’, and we said, ‘there’s nothing going on’
According to the Londoner, the emergency service workers inquired about the musical family’s troubles with their neighbours, which could have prompted them to perpetrate a prank or target them by phoning the cops.
The singer said: “We just said, no, everything’s all good’. We said, ‘sorry about the confusion, we don’t know what has happened’.
The event was “hilarious,” according to Vivienne, who added that the firefighters were laughing as well throughout the perplexing moments.
Overall, the Londoner believed the call was the consequence of a cultural conflict in the “gentrified” area.
Vivienne said: “I thought it was hilarious. I just thought I can’t believe this is real, it feels scripted because they were all laughing as well.
“It’s 100 percent culture clash. If it was 10 years ago before our road became a lot more gentrified, I don’t think that would have happened.
“But they [whoever called 999] didn’t understand the context and didn’t do any work to figure out what was actually going on”.
Vivienne said they should have examined the house first before calling 999, and she hoped they had learnt their lesson and that the same situation would not occur again.
The 26-year-old said: “In a sense, it was out of care potentially but also a misinterpretation of culture there.
“I’m thinking they learned their lesson and they won’t call again, because really, I think they should have checked before calling.
“Because if you can’t see any smoke or smell anything, I would have just checked.
“If you hear someone saying fire, go and investigate first”.
According to a London Fire Brigade spokesperson, firefighters from Holloway and Hornsey were dispatched at 10.07 a.m. and determined that there was no fire within 10 minutes.