Five members of Indian-origin family die in London house fire; were celebrating Diwali
LONDON: Five members of a family, including three children, have died in a house fire in west London, the Metropolitan Police said on Monday as it announced an investigation into the tragic incident.
While the victims are yet to be named by the police, local reports suggest the family was of Indian heritage and had been celebrating Diwali before the fire broke out on Sunday night.
A sixth victim remains unaccounted for in the fire and one male remains in hospital with injuries that are not thought to be life-threatening.
"My thoughts are with the loved ones of those who very sadly lost their lives in this tragic incident," said Met Police Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson, responsible for policing in Hounslow where the fire occurred.
"I don't underestimate the impact that this will have on the wider community and beyond. I understand that there will be a demand for answers and my officers are working to establish exactly what has happened," he said.
When asked if he could rule out fireworks as a possible cause of the fire, the Met Police Chief Supertindent was quoted by the Guardian as saying: "At this stage, this is being investigated both by ourselves and specialist fire officers. I am not ruling anything out, I don’t think we are in a position to do that. We keep an open mind: it is such an early stage and there is an awful lot of work to be done."
Police said they were called at about 2230 local time on Sunday to reports of a fire at a residential address in Channel Close, Hounslow, where its officers attended alongside several London Fire Brigade firefighters and the London Ambulance Service (LAS).
The bodies of five victims were found inside the property and a sixth person is currently unaccounted for.
"It is believed that all five are members of the same family. One man left the house prior to the arrival of emergency services. He was taken to hospital by LAS. His injuries are not believed to be life-threatening," reads the Met Police statement.
The police said nearby properties of the area were evacuated as a precaution and enquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing.
At this early stage in the investigation there have been no arrests, the Met Police said.
"We sent a number of resources including five ambulance crews, an advanced paramedic, two clinical team managers, two incident response officers and members of our Hazardous Area Response Team," LAS said in a statement.
Dileep Singh, 54, from Manchester, told reporters that his brother-in-law was at the property with his wife, three children and two adult guests.
Singh told the Evening Standard newspaper: "I received a call and came as soon as I could with my wife. We are desperate for information. My brother-in-law is alive but I don't know what has happened to everyone else.
"We are desperate. I was told the fire came from outside from a bin. We are going to the hospital to try to get more information."
It is reported that the family had moved to the house in London relatively recently from Belgium.