REGIONAL: Fire which killed mother and three children 'caused by halogen heater'

The family of a mother and three children killed in a house fire have said they are in "total shock".
Following the terrible fire in #Bolton @GMFRS_TonyH talks about what #firefighters faced when they arrived. Thoughts are with those affectedFollowing the terrible fire in #Bolton @GMFRS_TonyH talks about what #firefighters faced when they arrived. Thoughts are with those affected
Following the terrible fire in #Bolton @GMFRS_TonyH talks about what #firefighters faced when they arrived. Thoughts are with those affected

Aneesa Umerji, 40, her two sons Hammad, 12, and Yusuf, 10, and five-year-old daughter Khadija died after a blaze took hold of their home in Rosamond Street, Bolton, at around 9am on Saturday.

In a statement released through the Bolton Council of Mosques, the family said the fire was accidental and was caused by a halogen heater.

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They added: "We are aware that all the emergency services did everything they could to rescue the family members and we appreciate their efforts."

The statement said: "The families are in total shock at the events of yesterday morning where an accidental fire caused by a halogen heater led to the sad fatalities of Aneesa, Hammad, Yusuf and Khadija.

"We are also humbled and overwhelmed with the support received from the wider community of Bolton and surrounding towns.

"We are very grateful to BCOM for their continued support in our difficult time.

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"The families are still trying to come to terms with what has happened and are focused on offering support to each other.

"We respectfully request that you all pray for the departed and allow the families to come to terms with their tragic loss.

"The families would be very grateful if the media can respect our privacy and allow us to grieve.

"Thank you once again for everyone's kind words and support, they have provided much-needed strength in these very testing times."

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The father, named locally as Zubair Umerji, remains in hospital after jumping from a first floor window and then attempting to smash his way back into the house.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service assistant county officer Tony Hunter said crews found the "distraught" man trying to get into the small terraced house, screaming that his wife and children were inside.

Crews battled through the "intense" fire and "no visibility" to pull the victims from the home and were "emotional" to learn they had died, Mr Hunter said.

Greater Manchester Police said: "A joint investigation with Manchester Fire and Rescue was launched to establish the cause of the fire and officers can now confirm there are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances."

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Police said the bodies had been formally identified and details passed to the coroner.

Detective Chief Inspector Chris Bridge, from GMP's Bolton borough, said the incident was "utterly tragic".

"When anybody dies it is always devastating for their loved ones but this particular case is even more heartbreaking as three innocent children and their mother sadly lost their lives," he said.

"We continue to offer support to family members through specially trained officers, especially the father who is understandably distraught at this awful time."