Grandmother died trying to save her daughter's three children in blaze that claimed five lives
Published 28/04/2014 | 07:51
A grandmother died trying to save her three young grandchildren as fire swept through the family home, killing five people early on Monday.
Shabbina Begum, 54, and her 20-year-old daughter Anum Parvaiz Kayani were killed in the blaze which was described by a relative as a "tragedy beyond description".
They died alongside the children, including a baby girl of nine weeks, in the fire on Wake Road in Sheffield that started shortly after midnight.
The child victims also included Amaan Parwaiz Kayani, seven, and his nine-year-old brother, Adhyan Parwaiz Kayani. The little girl has not been named.
Nazim Parwaiz Kayani, the children's father, was out working as a taxi driver when the fire broke out, according to Ishfaq Kayani, Mrs Begum’s cousin.
He said he believed their mother, Razia Nazim Kayani, was in the house but escaped the blaze, and was being comforted by family members.
Mrs Begum ran out of the three-storey terrace house just after midnight screaming for help before returning to the blazing house to try and save the children, witnesses said.
Mr Kayani said of the children: "They were full of life, quite bubbly, very energetic. They were looking forward to attending school.”
Describing their mother as being "in a state of shock”, he said: “She's beyond consoling, really. I just hope and pray that they recover from this tragedy.
“The grandmother of the children, she made attempts to rescue the children but obviously it wasn't to be.
"She came out then went back in, tried her level best. Frantic attempts were made to rescue the children."
Asked about Mrs Begum, he said: "She was so caring, so generous."
He said her daughter, Anum, was a student and was due to start university later this year.
Mr Kayani went on: "It's just a huge tragedy. Words cannot describe how sad this is. It's a tragedy beyond description."
Describing his cousin, he said: "She was, to my children, like a mother, like an aunt. The whole community is in huge shock.
"As soon as the news broke just after midnight we came round. I've been with the family.
"It's so sad. A couple of hours ago the whole family was leading their normal life - quite prosperous, happy.
"Just in a matter of minutes the whole family has been destroyed. The whole family has gone.
"You can well imagine what the children's parents are going through. I don't have the words to describe how the family is feeling other than shell-shocked, devastated.
"We are a close-knit family, there are enough people around to support the family."
Mr Kayani added: "They were such a lovely family, highly respected. Quite an industrious family who had everything going. This tragedy has struck and we have to try our level best to pull through this."
Four fire engines were called to the scene and an aerial ladder was used to tackle the fire (ROSS PARRY)
A fire brigade spokesman said: ''An investigation has commenced, involving police and fire officers, to establish the cause of the fire.''
Four fire engines were called to the scene and an aerial ladder was also used to tackle the blaze.
Police and ambulance services also rushed to the house after receiving emergency calls.
Wake Road, lined with cars on each side, was cordoned off by police tape this morning.
A police spokesman said the damaged building was believed to be a terraced house.
He said: "At this stage we are not able to confirm where in the house the fire broke out or if anyone else was injured."
Police officers and firefighters remained at the scene, he said.
Vicky Edwards, who lives on Wake Road, told the BBC: "It's a shock, of course it's a shock.
"I got up and saw the police tape and thought 'what is that about?' but it was only when I came outside and saw the police officers I realised it was something serious.
"It's a really nice neighbourhood, the sort of place where kids play outside."
People living in the area said up to 300 people came out in the street to try to offer help as the emergency services arrived.
Some neighbours reported hearing screams and wailing from the area when they were woken in the early hours.
Phil Shillito from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said 25 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze.
"This is a tragic reminder of the devastating effects of fire and our thoughts are with the families of those involved in this incident," he said.
"I can confirm that around 25 firefighters and four appliances attended a very challenging incident last night and worked hard to recover and rescue five casualties from the premise. Unfortunately, they didn't survive and we're now working with the police to investigate the cause of fire.
"They were faced with a very challenging fire, lots of flames coming out of the property, and they were aware family members were in the premise and they went in wearing breathing apparatus enabling them to breathe in the hot and smoky environment."