Mother, five children killed in London house fire

Police and fire brigade officers were investigating a house fire that killed a mother and five of her children in England.

A 16-year-old girl, who with her father escaped the blaze in north London, remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Nur Kua suffered head and back injuries after jumping from an upstairs window as fire tore through her family’s semi-detached house in Neasden. Her mother, Muna El-Mufatish, 41, was killed, as were Nur’s brothers Yehya, 2, and Mustafa, 5, and her sisters Amal, 9, Basma, 13, and Hanin, 14.

The children’s father, Bassam Kua, 51, was said to be in a stable condition, suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.

More than 30 firefighters were called to the fire and managed to stop it spreading to neighbouring houses.

The family is understood to have come to Britain from the Palestinian territories as refugees about 17 years ago. Neighbours described them as a strict and traditional Muslim family.

¬†Fariha Blaaza, 16, a friend of Nur’s, said: “We’d just started college together and we were really happy. I last saw her at Friday break time. They had strict parents but Nur was outgoing with people she knew.”

Muna El-Mufatish and four children were found dead at the scene. Mustafa, her 5-year-old son, was in cardiac arrest when emergency teams arrived, and could not be resuscitated.

Kua, who was conscious yesterday in hospital, was said to be asking for his wife and children to be buried quickly in accordance with Muslim tradition. Funerals are unlikely, however, until investigations conclude.

A neighbour, Nadeem Daad, witnessed the fire: “I heard a bang and saw the flames going through the house. I also heard screaming.”

There will be a memorial assembly tonight at the Crest Girls’ Academy in Neasden, where Basma, Hanin and, until recently, Nur were pupils. Schoolfriends of Basma said that she was a talented student who was top of year nine in almost every subject. Hanin, 14, had just completed a Duke of Edinburgh award and was hoping to go to university.

A police spokesman said the fire started in the downstairs hallway and confirmed: “At this time we’re treating it as non-suspicious circumstances.”

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