Neighbours ‘thought house was empty’ as fire tore through home killing family of five including three children – with one person still missing as police probe whether Diwali firework sparked blaze
Neighbours of a family of five including three children who died when a fire ripped through their home say they ‘thought the house was empty’ – as one person remains missing.
The cause of Sunday’s blaze is unclear although family members claimed the source ‘came from an outside bin’ while a neighbour said Diwali fireworks might be to blame.
One man was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after escaping the blaze in Hounslow, west London, which was attended by 70 firefighters. Another person remains unaccounted for.
Aroen Kishen and his wife Seema were inside their mid-terraced home when the fire broke out around 10.20pm. It is understood that Mr Kishen survived the inferno but his wife and children died.
Naseep, a mother who lives nearby, described the news as ‘heartbreaking’, telling My London: ‘They’re just kids, it’s terrible. My children went to school with them and live so close by. When I first saw the smoke I thought the house was empty, it’s all just so heartbreaking.’
Aroen Kishen and his wife Seema (pictured with their children) were in the house on Channel Close, Hounslow, when the blaze broke out last night
One neighbour said they ‘thought the house was empty’ when they saw the flames during Sunday’s blaze
Emergency services personnel in plastic suits at the scene of the blaze during investigations yesterday
There is a police presence around the site on Channel Close in Hounslow
Neighbour, Felicia Matei, 29, said: ‘We saw the man who lived there with his wife and children. He was screaming something like ‘my kids, my kids’. It was a big fire.’
Another neighbour told how she feared a ‘misfired firework’ may have been to blame.
During Diwali, candles are lit and fireworks launched to symbolise the victory of good over evil.
The mother-of-one said: ‘There were a lot of fireworks flying around. So when I heard that a house had caught fire I thought it must have been the result of a firework that had been misfired.’
The neighbour, who asked not to be identified, added: ‘Because it’s Diwali everyone was dressed up in nice clothes and happy.
READ MORE: Pictured: Mother and her children among five killed in fire as father screamed ‘my kids, my kids’ – with sixth family member still missing after inferno tore through home
‘But the amount of fireworks being let off made it dangerous to be out.’
Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson said: ‘I am not ruling anything out. There is an awful lot of work to be done. We believe that three of those that died are children.’
Jinder Gogar, a cousin of Mr Kishen, said: ‘They were gathered for Diwali. They had two visitors which was his nephew and his wife.’
Mr Kishen’s brother-in-law Dileep Singh, told The Evening Standard: ‘My brother-in-law is alive.
‘We are desperate. I was told the fire came from outside from a bin. We are going to the hospital to try to get more information.’
The back of Inder Kondal’s home in Hounslow has a view of the home on Channel Close which burned down.
The father-of-two, whose young daughters watched on as the house burned, said the flames spread so fast throughout the house that it had engulfed the property within a minute and a half.
Mr Kondal, 48, also echoed his neighbours in highlighting the amount of fireworks which were going off at the same time as the fire.
He said it was around half ten when he first saw the flames across the road.
‘What we saw was pretty crazy,’ Mr Kondal, who works in security, said.
‘We heard someone say, ‘Get my son out’. We could hear people screaming and stuff. It was horrific. The fireworks going on were crazy. It was horrendous.
‘My 12-year-old daughter was in the garden and saw the flames. It’s so sad. Within a minute the fire had gone all the way through.
‘One and a half minutes in, it was in through the back. It was instant.’
Emergency services are seen near the burnt out property in Hounslow yesterday
Over 70 emergency workers from the London Fire Brigade attended the inferno
Mr Kondal added that he had heard a rumour that a stray firework had set fire to a bin outside the home.
His neighbor, Ram Saldhu, said he also recognised the family shown to him in the photo, having seen them on Channel Close previously when walking past.
The father-of-four, 63, said: ‘I have lived here for 35 years and have never seen anything like this before.
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‘We were doing fireworks and finished about eight o’clock. We went out the back and saw the flashing lights and the smoke.
‘An alleyway goes in front of their [the Kishen family’s] house, and we saw them sometimes, but didn’t know them personally.
‘I saw their children going out to play in the summer sometimes.
‘There were lots of fireworks going off. I saw the flashing lights about ten o’clock, and I could see the smoke coming out [of the house].
‘It’s very bad news.’
Other neighbours described the moment the fire ripped through the property at around 10.20pm.
Describing the aftermath of the inferno, Neighbour Felicia Matei, 29, told of how she grabbed her children and ran for cover.
She told MailOnline: ‘We saw the man who lived there with his wife and children. My daughter used to play with his daughter.
‘He was screaming something like ‘my kids, my kids’. It was a big fire. I screamed to my family and said we need to run away.’
Another neighbour told how she feared the fatal house fire in Hounslow had been caused by a ‘misfired firework’.
Only one man managed to escape before the fire brigade arrived with one person still missing
Around 70 firefighters and ten fire engines were present at the scene in Hounslow
The Metropolitan Police have said they cannot rule out fireworks as a possible cause of the fatal blaze
During Diwali, it is customary to light candles and launch fireworks to symbolize the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
The mother-of-one told MailOnline: ‘It was Diwali and there were a lot of fireworks flying around.
‘So when I heard that a house had caught fire I thought it must have been the result of a firework that had been misfired.’
The neighbour, who asked not to be identified, added: ‘It’s so sad that something terrible like this has happened. Because it’s Diwali everyone was dressed up in nice clothes and everyone was happy.
‘But the amount of fireworks being let off made it dangerous to be out in the streets.’
The ground and first floor were destroyed in the blaze and part of the roof damaged.
Nearby homes were evacuated before it was brought under control by 1.25am.
The Kishen family had recently moved to London from Belgium, neighbours said.
Speaking to the paper, neighbour Adelin Matei said: ‘They moved here from Belgium. They are a lovely family. They had Christmas lights around the front door. I don’t know whether the fire had anything to do with it. There was smoke in our house.’
Describing the fire, another neighbour added: ‘All we saw was smoke. There were loads of fireworks. Every Diwali.
‘They were going on while responders were here. It’s normal and traditional. It went on to well past one or two.’
Speaking at the scene, Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson said: ‘Sadly, we believe that three of those that have died were children and there is at least one other person, an adult, who remains unaccounted for.
‘This is truly a terrible incident. The loss of so many lives will cause unimaginable distress to the family and friends, and the communities, of all those involved.’
He went on: ‘I know that people across the country will be shocked and saddened by this terrible event.
‘Now, everyone will want to know why this tragedy occurred and we will be working tirelessly with our colleagues in the London Fire Brigade to find those answers.
‘At this time we have an open mind as to the cause of the fire and I would ask people not to add to that uncertainty by speculating.’
Police say that it is thought all five victims, including children, were from the same family
The services added it is not currently clear what caused the fire at the west London address
Mr Wilson, when asked if he could rule out fireworks as a possible cause of the fatal blaze, said: ‘At this stage, this is being investigated both by ourselves and specialist fire officers.
‘I am not ruling anything out, I don’t think we are in a position to do that.
‘We keep an open mind, it is such an early stage and there is an awful lot of work to be done.’
Ruth Cadbury, the MP for Hounslow, has offered her condolences to the family.
The MP said: ‘I am devastated to learn that five people, including children, died in a fire in a house in Hounslow. My thoughts are with their family, friends neighbours.’
London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe has also offered his condolences.
He said: ‘This is a terribly sad incident and the thoughts of all of us at London Fire Brigade are with the family, friends and all those affected at this difficult time.
‘Staff will be in the local community yesterday to offer support and advice where needed.
‘The London Fire Brigade was called at 10.26pm and the fire was under control by 1.25am. Fire crews from Heston, Southall, Twickenham, Hayes, Feltham and surrounding fire stations attended the scene.
‘The cause of the fire is under investigation.’
The London Ambulance Service also dispatched five ambulances, two officers, a Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), and the London Air Ambulance to provide medical assistance.
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