Woman and three children killed in Bolton house fire
Father in hospital after desperate efforts to save wife Anisha Umerji, sons Hammad and Yusuf and daughter Khadija
A five-year-old girl died in a house fire that also claimed the lives of her two older siblings and her mother.
The victims of the blaze at a home in Bolton have been named locally as Anisha Umerji, 40, her two sons Hammad, 12, and Yusuf, 10, and five-year-old daughter Khadija.
The father, named locally as Zubair Umerji, remains in hospital after jumping from the first floor window and then attempting to smash his way back into the house.
Bolton-born boxer Amir Khan retweeted the Bolton Council of Mosques, who said the family had died in the fire, and added: “Very sad news from my home town – RIP Umerji family.”
A senior firefighter, Tony Hunter, said fire crews found the man trying to get into the small terraced house in Rosamond Street, in Bolton, at around 9am on Saturday.
Hunter, an assistant county officer with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said the man was “distraught”.
“We found a man who had jumped from the first floor window, straight through the window on to concrete,” he told the Press Association. “He got up and then was smashing his hands through the glass of the ground floor window.
“He was breaking the windows with his hands. He was covered in cuts. He was absolutely distraught, screaming [that] his wife and children were in there.”
Hunter said it had taken four firefighters and specialist equipment to break down the front door. When crews got inside they found devastation. “It was a very intense fire – the plaster had come off the walls. That was on the ground floor so you can imagine what it was like on the first floor.
“They made their way up in no visibility whatsoever, fighting the fire as they were going up the stairs and located the three children and mother and then had to carry them down. I spoke to crews when I got there – they were very emotional about it.”
Paramedics and fire crews gave the victims CPR but one of the children was pronounced dead at the scene and the woman and two other children died later in hospital. The man is being treated in hospital and is in a stable condition.
A witness said she watched as emergency services performed CPR on two people taken from the burning building. “I saw them bringing people out. They were doing chest compressions,” she told reporters at the scene.
She watched from her window as smoke billowed from the property. “It was 9am this morning when I heard all this commotion. Somebody – I don’t know whether he lived there – there was just a load of hammering, banging on a door.
“When I saw him after he had his hands bandaged up and his head. He either lived there and managed to get out or he was trying to get in.”
DCI Chris Bridge, from Greater Manchester police’s Bolton borough, said: “These are utterly heartbreaking circumstances and our thoughts go out to anyone affected by this tragic incident. This appears to be a family home and we have been working to inform loved ones of this awful loss.
“I know the community will feel the impact of this and I assure you we are working with our colleagues at GMFRS [Greater Manchester fire and rescue service] to get to the bottom of what happened, although we are currently not treating it as suspicious.
“This means there will be officers and fire investigators in the area for some time and I would like to thank residents for their patience so far. This happened on a Saturday morning when many people would be up and about and I would appeal to anyone with any information about this incident to please call us.”
Our deepest condolences go to the family and the community. We will be in the local area in the coming days reassuring residents. https://t.co/ewjTZ2nudr
— Manchester Fire (@manchesterfire) July 8, 2017
The Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, said: “Dreadful news coming out of Bolton today. My thoughts are with the family, their friends and the whole community.”