Bexleyheath fire: Mum screamed 'Fire' in call to husband before she died with two kids

·5-min read

Watch: Tributes left for two children and two women who died in house fire

Distraught relatives have told how the mother of two children that died in a house fire on Friday morning made a final call to her husband before the blaze killed her, her two young children, and her mother.

The children who died alongside the women in the house fire in Bexleyheath, south-east London, are believed to be a toddler and a boy aged five or six. 

The family were pulled from the house fire in south-east London but died at the scene. 

A man named Jega said that he had spoken to his cousin on Friday. He said: “He (the husband) said he got a call from his wife and she was just shouting and then the call ended. It went silent.

“She was shouting ‘fire fire’.

“It is so sad. It is impossible to comfort him or to describe what he is going through.”

The devastating damage from the house fire in Bexleyheath was clear on Friday morning. (PA)
The devastating damage from the house fire in Bexleyheath was clear on Friday morning. (PA)

The cousin described the youngsters who died as “happy children” and said “it looks like an accident and you can’t prepare for that.”

According to one neighbour, who described seeing a "distraught" man collapsed against a wall as the blaze engulfed the house, the family had only been living in the recently-renovated home for about five months. 

Emergency services were called to the blaze in Bexleyheath on Thursday night, where firefighters rescued the two women and two children from the first floor.

The London Fire Brigade said one man, who escaped before firefighters arrived, was taken to hospital by ambulance. 

A teddy bear left at the scene of a house fire where two children and two women died on Thursday evening (PA)
A teddy bear left at the scene of a house fire where two children and two women died on Thursday evening (PA)

Read more: £20,000 appeal after hooligans beat football fan to death on way home from game

The Metropolitan Police said the two children involved in the fire are believed to be an infant boy and girl.

Their next of kin have been informed, the force said, adding the victims are all believed to have been related to each other.

A man remains in hospital with leg injuries and his condition is not thought to be life-threatening.

Another person was taken to hospital by ambulance after he arrived at the scene, the Met said.

The cause of the fire is being investigated but police said at this stage, it is not thought to be suspicious and there have been no arrests.

Ling Han, 36, lives 10 metres away from the house. She said her family heard “sharp screaming” coming from inside the house and her children told her “there was a big fire”.

Forensic officers are examining the house to establish what caused the fire (PA)
Forensic officers are examining the house to establish what caused the fire (PA)

She saw firefighters take two children out of the house and the emergency services trying to save their lives.

“They tried really hard to do CPR. They never gave up. They tried to do CPR for the children,” she said.

“I was shocked. My body was shocked. I had no idea how I could help them…

Firefighters and forensic investigators outside the house on Friday (PA)
Firefighters and forensic investigators outside the house on Friday (PA)

“I saw a huge flame in the first floor.

“I am just so sad because we could see people in danger and could not do anything for them.”

Read more: Teen driver killed grandfather after speeding at 81mph in 20mph zone

Builder Scott James, whose home is a stone’s throw away from the scene, said the house was "quickly engulfed in flames” as smoke blew out to the street on Thursday at about 8.30pm.

He said: "I got overwhelmed by smoke and then the whole house was engulfed. The downstairs was on fire and then the whole house went up. It was engulfed in flames. There wasn’t an explosion."

The 44-year-old praised firefighters who arrived at the scene, describing how quickly they "had ladders up to the windows as they tried to rescue those inside, with one woman being pulled out of a top window.

He added: "It all happened so quickly. I have never seen anything like it.”

He said he believed the children involved in the fire were a toddler and a boy of about five or six.

The fire tragically claimed four lives and left a fifth person in hospital. (PA)
The fire tragically claimed four lives and left a fifth person in hospital. (PA)

The family had only been in their recently renovated home for about five months, he said.

London Fire Brigade said six fire engines and around 40 firefighters were called to the house on Hamilton Road in Bexleyheath at around 8.30pm.

It said: "Crews in breathing apparatus rescued two women and two children from the first floor using a nine metre ladder. Sadly they all died at the scene.

"One man left the building before the Brigade arrived and has been taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service."

Offering his condolences, London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said: “This is a truly terrible incident which is both sad and shocking. Our thoughts are with the family, friends and local community at this difficult time.”

Metropolitan Police officers at the scene of a house fire on Hamilton Road in Bexleyheath, south-east London, where two children and two women died on Thursday evening. Picture date: Friday November 19, 2021.
Police said the cause of the fire is being investigated. (PA)

His thoughts were echoed in a statement by the Met Police's Bexley Borough, who tweeted: "We'll be here to help support those affected by this tragic fire in #Bexleyheath in the coming days.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: "I am heartbroken to hear that two women and two children have tragically lost their lives in a house fire in Bexley last night. My heart goes out to all their loved ones and the local community at this awful time.

"The London Fire Brigade worked tirelessly at the scene to put out the fire and I remain in close contact with them over their urgent investigation into this terrible incident."

Watch: What will the world look like in 2030, 2040, 2050?

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting