Saturday 24 February 2018

Six family members killed in London house fire

Press Association

Six people, including three children, two teenagers and an adult, have died in a house fire in London.

The victims, thought to be members of the same family, include a five-year-old who died despite attempts to resuscitate him at the scene.

A 51-year-old man and a 16-year-old escaped the blaze at the house in Neasden, north west London, but are being treated in hospital for burns, police said.

Emergency workers were called to the semi-detached property in Sonia Gardens during the early hours of this morning after a blaze took hold of the ground and first floors. One neighbour described hearing a loud bang, almost like an "explosion".

Station manager Glen Gorman, from the London Fire Brigade, said 30 firefighters arrived on six fire engines after they received a call just before 1am.

He said: "Despite their best efforts very tragically six people died in the fire and a further two people were taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service and are being treated as we speak.

"Firefighters were faced with very intense heat and smoke, it was a very difficult situation to deal with, and whilst they were dealing with that they managed to prevent the fire from spreading to the adjoining property and prevented further injury or loss of life.

"I'd just like to say at this moment our sincere condolences do go out to the friends and the family of those who were involved at such a tragic time."

An investigation into the fire, which is being treated as unexplained, has been launched by the LFB and the Metropolitan Police, and Mr Gorman said it would be "very thorough and leave no stone unturned".

The Metropolitan Police confirmed a 41-year-old woman, two teenage girls aged 14 and 13, and three children - a nine-year-old girl, and two boys, aged five and two, had died. Post mortem examinations are expected to be held in due course.

A spokesman said a 51-year-old man and girl aged 16, had been taken to west London hospitals. "The girl is understood to be in a critical condition and the man's condition is described as stable," he said.

"All those killed and injured are believed to be members of the same family."

A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the two injured victims were taken to Saint Mary's Hospital in Paddington.

She said: "We sent the air ambulance doctor in a car, four ambulance crews and a hazardous area response team. Sadly four youngsters and an adult were dead at the scene.

"Our staff treated a five-year-old boy in cardiac arrest but despite extensive efforts they were unable to resuscitate him."

The family has not been formally named, but school friends of a 13-year-old girl who live on the same street today named her as Basma Kua and said they thought she and her older sister Noor had died in the fire.

Tia Hirani, 13, said: "I'm not 100% sure if it was Basma in the fire but from here it looks like it was her house.

"She's one of the most caring people I've ever met, she helps everyone.

"I've known her for two years roughly, we go to Crest Academy together. I've known her from year seven, we've had a few falling outs but that's just what friends do.

"She's got an older sister called Noor, I think she just finished year eleven but I'm not sure.

"I'm quite scared in case it is actually her house, I'm just worried in case it's her house because me and her are quite best friends."

Tia said she had tried calling her friend but had not been able to get through.

Another friend Lareb Nasar, 13, added: "I got here and found out that it might have been her house.

"I'm really worried and really upset as well, it's a very tragic incident."

Asked what her friend was like, Lareb said: "Basma was really good at English and she loved writing, she was good at science as well.

"She was always one of the smartest in our years and she was a really good person as well."

Both girls said they thought the Kua family are originally from Palestine.

A school friend of Basma Kua confirmed she lived at the house where the fire happened.

Leila Nasir, 13, standing at the nearby police cordon today, said: "I know my friend Basma lived at that house."

Leila and Basma were fellow students in the same class at Crest Academy in Neasden.

Crying, Leila said: "At the last lesson on Friday I was sitting next to her. It was a science lesson.

"Basma was the best in everything."

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