Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Doctor and Four of Her Children Killed in Inferno

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Doctor and Four of Her Children Killed in Inferno

Article excerpt

Byline: Benedict Moore-Bridger and Rashid Razaq

A DOCTOR and four of her five children died today after fire tore through their home in a suspected arson attack.

Sabah Usmani, sons Sohaib, 13, and Rayyan, six, and 11-year-old daughter Hira died in their end-of-terrace house in Harlow, Essex, in the early hours of this morning.

A third son, nine-year-old Muneeb, and daughter Maheen, three, were rescued by fire crews and taken to hospital in a critical condition. Police identified Muneeb as the one who died later.

Dr Usmani's husband, Abdul Shakoor, also a doctor, was being treated for smoke inhalation in the hospital where he works.

Neighbours told of "horrible screams" and a woman calling for help from inside the house in Barn Mead as flames poured from the front and back doors and windows.

They were described as a "lovely, normal family".

Fire crews were called to the Continued on Page 6

Continued from Page 1 house at 1.45am. Neighbour Sharon Pavey said: "I saw flames coming out of the back window and dialled 999 but they were on their way. We could tell it was very serious." Amanda Chadwick, 34, said she was woken by the sound of "horrible screaming" from the house.

She said: "I woke up to the sound of a woman screaming "help". There was a man, also, he sounded like he was calling out to find someone but I couldn't make out the names.

"It was absolutely horrible. Before I knew it there were blue lights flashing and an ambulance arrived."

Dr Usmani studied at the prestigious Dow Medical College in Pakistan.

Dr Shakoor's cousin, Abdul Ishaqani, speaking from Karachi, told the Standard that husband and wife were doctors and had worked in Saudi Arabia before moving to the UK three years ago.

The family first lived in Winchester before relocating to Harlow a year ago when Dr Shakoor started working at Princess Alexandra Hospital where the casualties were taken today.

Mr Ishaqani said: "They are a very happy, loving family. …

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