x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Four die in Sharjah fire

Parents away in Mecca on Umrah pilgrimage as blaze breaks out in kitchen and sweeps through house as family sleep upstairs.

A fire broke out in one of the villa sat Al Nasserya area of Sharjah, killing four.
A fire broke out in one of the villa sat Al Nasserya area of Sharjah, killing four.

SHARJAH // Three Emirati children and their grandmother died from suffocation yesterday morning after a fire swept through their house in the Nassiriya area. The three children were identified as Umar, aged 3, Mansour, 5, and Jassim, 7. Their grandmother's identity had not been disclosed last night.

Police said the accident occurred while the children's parents were in Saudi Arabia on the Umrah pilgrimage. Their grandmother and a housemaid had remained behind to look after them. According to Col Waheed al Serkal, the head of Sharjah Civil Defence, firemen arrived on the scene just opposite the Al Ahli supermarket, within minutes of being informed that a house in the area was on fire. They got the blaze under control before it spread to the bedrooms where the children and their grandmother were sleeping.

However, the four had evidently already succumbed to smoke inhalation. "We managed to remove the bodies, they were not burnt, they just died of suffocation," Col al Serkal said. The fire began in the kitchen where the Indonesian housemaid was preparing food, he added. She had tried unsuccessfully to put it out and it spread to other parts of the house, forcing the woman to flee. She shouted for neighbours to call the fire department and escaped unhurt.

"It is very unfortunate for the family and the whole nation to lose the young people on the end of Ramadan. We pray to God to strengthen the parents who are in Mecca performing Umrah," Col al Serkal said. Sharjah Police CID officials were on the scene yesterday, investigating the exact causes of the fire. The maid is helping police with their enquiries. The four bodies have been transferred to the Sharjah Police forensic laboratories.

One of the neighbours, who would identify himself only as Ahmed, said they had informed the parents in Mecca of their children's death. "They are coming tonight to participate in the preparation of the burial," he said. An attendant working at the neighbouring Emarat petrol station said he knew the children's father, who used to refuel his car at the station and would always bring along his three children.

"I feel so bad that all his children have died at once, he would now have to come here alone, it's so bad," he said. ykakande@thenational.ae