Asian Muslim woman, four kids die in Britain fire



London: An Asian Muslim woman, who worked as a doctor, and four of her children died on Monday in a devastating house fire in Britain, which police said was "suspicious".

Firefighters were called to the two-storey property in Barn Mead in Essex around 1.45 am where they found flames pouring from both the front and back doors, the Daily Mail reported.

Two sons -- 11-year-old Sohaib and six-year-old Rayan -- and 13-year-old daughter Hira, and their mother Sabah Usmani were declared dead after being pulled from the inferno, The Sun said.

A third son, nine-year-old Muneeb, died later in hospital, while his three-year-old sister, Maheen, was in a critical condition.

Usmani's doctor husband Abdul Shakour survived the blaze with minor injuries.

The family was of Asian origin but their nationality was not known.

Police told the daily they were investigating whether the fire was started deliberately.

Firefighters said when they arrived at the scene they found a car on fire a short distance from the house. The car was not connected to the family, and police are treating the car fire as arson.

A neighbour said she was awoken in the early hours of the morning by the sound of "horrible screaming" from the house.

She said she heard a woman screaming "help". "It was absolutely horrible," she said.

Another neighbour told the daily the Asian family had only recently moved into the area, and that the father was a doctor.

Shakour was inside the house when the blaze started but had escaped by the time firefighters arrived. He is not currently being treated as a suspect, police said.

A fire official said the blaze, which started downstairs while the family were asleep upstairs, had developed rapidly, suggesting some kind of fuel may have been used.

IANS