Hero Sanjay saves family as toxic smoke fills blazing home in East Ham
PUBLISHED: 19:16 03 March 2015 | UPDATED: 19:16 03 March 2015
A passer-by rescued a 10-year-old girl and her teenage brother when fire broke out in their home in east London—filling the house with toxic smoke.
Shop manager Sanjay Singh, 26, was passing the house in Barking Road, East Ham, when he saw smoke pouring out and heard the mother on the doorstep screaming that her children were trapped inside.
Sanjay risked his own life when he forced open the front-door and inched his way through the smoke in the hallway.
“I was scared—but my thought was to get to her children and make sure they were safe,” Sanjay told the Newham Recorder today.
“I got the door open, but couldn’t see in side because it was so thick. It was scary.
“Everything was flickering red and black—like a horror movie. I used my mobile phone to try and light my way, but the smoke was too thick to see anything.”
The fire yesterday afternoon broke out in the kitchen and Sanjay managed to close the door with back of his hand because the handle was hot to touch.
“The woman was screaming and all I could think of was that I had to reach her little girl upstairs,” Sanjay added.
“I was scared, but it was instinct. I reached the child and carried her and guided her brother and mum through the smoke, keeping their heads low, and got them to the street.”
Sanjay returned to his electrical wholesalers a few doors along, as emergency fire crews from East Ham and Plaistow arrived. A schoolgirl in the street had raised the alarm when she saw the smoke and stood by to flag down the fire-tenders as they arrived.
The mother, Hozan Ibrahim, 53, had popped out briefly to the post office, leaving 18-year old Haroon looking after the house with 10-year-old Jamilla.
Haroon said later: “I checked the cooking was alright and went upstairs, but came back down to find the place full of smoke.
“I turned the cooker off and tried opening windows, then tried the front door, but my eyes started burning and I couldn’t breath.
“Mum came back and Sanjay came in and got my sister out. It all happed to quickly.”
The toxic fumes somehow didn’t set off the smoke detector at the top of the stairs. There was no device on the ground-floor, the Fire Brigade confirmed.
East Ham watch manager Shaun Fox said: “This family had a lucky escape. A schoolgirl raised the alarm and the man rescued the mother and daughter—but this could have had a very different ending.”
Unattended cooking was the most likely cause of the fire, which was brought under control in three minutes. Crews then ventilated the house while ambulance paramedics treated the 10-year-old girl for the effects of the smoke.