UK & World News
Essex House Fire: Three-Year-Old Girl Dies
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 Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford since being transferred there after the blaze.
Her mother, doctor Sabah Usmani, brothers Sohaib, 11 and Rayyan, six, and 12-year-old sister Hira died at their end-of-terrace house in Barn Mead in the early hours of Monday.
Nine-year-old Muneeb was also rescued from the blaze and rushed to hospital where he later died.
Father Abdul Shakoor, also a doctor, suffered minor injuries as he fought to rescue his family from the flames.
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.
"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 said earlier they had found no evidence the fire was started deliberately - but arson has still not been ruled out.
Detectives believe the blaze started in the lounge at the rear of the house and forensic experts say they have yet to find any evidence an accelerant, such as petrol, was used.
Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson said his officers were continuing to investigate "many lines of inquiry".
He 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 the fire appears to have taken hold in the lounge area at the rear of the property. The ferocity of the blaze has made the forensic work more challenging."
Dr Shakoor escaped the fire by jumping from a first-floor window and, according to police, he "fought hard to save his family in appalling conditions" and is not being treated as a suspect.
He is currently being treated at Broomfield Hospital after being moved there to be closer to Maheen. He was with his daughter when she died.