Fifth child dies after Essex house fire as three-year-old girl loses fight for life in hospital

 

A three-year-old girl who was fighting for life after a house fire that claimed the lives of her mother and four siblings has died.

Maheen Shakoor had been in a critical condition in the burns units at the Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford since being transferred there after the blaze in Harlow, Essex.

Her mother, doctor Sabah Usmani, brothers Sohaib, 11, Muneeb, 9, and Rayyan, six, and 12-year-old sister Hira died in their end-of-terrace house in Barn Mead in the early hours of Monday.

Father Abdul Shakoor, also a doctor, suffered minor injuries as he fought to rescue his family from the blaze.

A spokesman for the Princess Alexandra Hospital, where Dr Shakoor worked and where Maheen was initially taken, said: "None of us can come close to understanding his suffering and the terrible loss of Maheen, Rayyan, Muneeb, Sohaib, Hira and his wife Sabah."

The statement continued: "On behalf of all our staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital, we extend our deepest sympathy to Dr Shakoor.

"All of us have been saddened by this tragedy and as a close-knit hospital community, many of us know Dr Shakoor and have been overwhelmed by what has happened.

"Our book of condolence, which is available for staff to sign in our hospital, is being filled with the most heartfelt and genuine messages which are truly humbling.

"Our thoughts and our prayers are with our dear friend and colleague."

Police initially treated the blaze as a suspected arson attack.

Earlier today results of tests carried out at the scene were released showing that the fire started in the lounge at the rear of the property.

No trace of an accelerant used to spark the flames has so far been found.

Although officers are continuing to investigate all possibilities it is now thought "increasingly likely" the fire was a tragic accident.

Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson said: "We know already from the fire service and our own findings that temperatures would have been extremely high, with thick toxic smoke permeating the house.

"Initial indications show that the fire appears to have taken hold in the lounge area, which is at the rear of the property. The ferocity of the blaze has made the forensic work more challenging."

A mound of floral tributes has been left near the family home.

Friends and neighbours have paid tribute to a "wonderful, hard-working" family.

Lesley Lynn, headteacher at the nearby Abbotsweld School, said Sohaib, Muneeb and Rayyan were all pupils, describing them as "intelligent and sociable children with a good sense of humour, good at sports and much loved by everyone".

She added: "Everyone at the school is distraught to learn of the horrible tragedy that has hit the Shakoor family."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration Engineer

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These refrigeration specialists...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Logistics and Supply Chain

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an operational role and...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Sheet Metal Worker / Fabricator

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working within the workshop of ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral