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Man quizzed over house fire deaths

A man has faced a second day of police questioning over a fire that killed two children and seriously injured their mother.

The youngsters, named locally as Aleena Shah, 10, and her brother Aman, eight, were trapped on Tuesday in what firefighters called an "extremely severe fire" in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Their 30-year-old mother Irum Shah is thought to have jumped from a window to escape and suffered "life-threatening" injuries. A 21-year-old man arrested on Tuesday was being quizzed by police in connection with the fire.

Neighbours described how they had to beat out the flames which engulfed Mrs Shah as she pleaded for someone to save her children. People living in Hendford Drive said the blaze was extremely intense with flames darting from windows and the roof.

The children's uncle and a 19-year-old neighbour, Fazal Mohammed, smashed the windows to try to rescue the children.

But they were beaten back by the heat as other people tried to douse the fire with buckets of water.

Firefighters said the neighbours had performed heroics but even officers wearing protective gear and breathing apparatus struggled against the intense heat.

Neighbour Zaiwab Maqsood, 17, said: "The flames were huge, they were coming out of the roof. We went to help her because she was screaming for help. We were patting her to put the flames out but she had been badly burned.

"I wrapped her in a towel because her clothes had been burnt. We picked her up because they had started to break the windows to try and get in. But she was screaming 'just save my kids, just save my kids'. She just kept screaming and screaming it over and over again."

Mrs Shah - whose children were pupils at the nearby Byron Primary School - is being treated at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield. Neighbours also said the children's father lived at the house but was not at home when the fire broke out.


From Belfast Telegraph