Published: 12:38, 20 November 2021
| Updated: 13:37, 20 November 2021
A community is in mourning after a house fire claimed the lives of a woman, her two young children, and their grandmother.
The mother, named locally as Niruba, was reportedly trapped in the house with her son Tabish, aged four, and daughter Shasna.
The police cordon in Hamilton Road
A relative told the PA News agency that she made a desperate phone call to her husband while flames engulfed the house in Hamilton Road in Bexleyheath.
The victim's shouts of “fire, fire” through the phone prompted her husband to run to the blazing house on Thursday evening, according to the husband’s cousin, who gave his name only as Jega.
Niruba's brother was also reportedly taken to hospital with suspected broken legs after being forced to jump out of the burning building.
Jega told the PA news agency: “He (the husband) said he got a call from his wife and she was just shouting and then the call ended. It went silent.
“She was shouting ‘fire fire’.”
He added: “It is so sad. It is impossible to comfort him or to describe what he is going through.”
The cousin described the youngsters who died as “happy children” and added that “it looks like an accident and you can’t prepare for that.”
It is understood the boy was aged around four and the girl around 18 months old.
Builder and nearby resident Scott James, 44, said the house was “quickly engulfed in flames” on Thursday evening as smoke blew on to the street, while a “distraught” man collapsed against a wall.
“The downstairs was on fire and then the whole house went up. It was engulfed in flames. There wasn’t an explosion."
Mr James said he told other neighbours to stay back until firefighters arrived who “very quickly had ladders up to the windows” and pulled one woman out from the upper level.
“I saw them yesterday and waved at them,” he said.
“I spoke to them just to say hello. It was just pleasantries. It is very sad to wake up this morning and hear they have perished.”
Ling Han, 36, who lives 10 metres away, said her family heard “sharp screaming” coming from inside the house and her children told her “there was a big fire”.
"My body was shocked. I had no idea how I could help them"
She saw firefighters take two children out of the house and the emergency services trying to save their lives.
“They tried really hard to do CPR. They never gave up. They tried to do CPR for the children,” she said.
“I was shocked. My body was shocked. I had no idea how I could help them.
“I saw a huge flame in the first floor.
“I am just so sad because we could see people in danger and could not do anything for them.”
Det Ch Supt Trevor Lawry, head of policing for Bexley, Lewisham and Greenwich said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased, who have suffered such an awful and devastating loss.
“We have officers in the location and I know these sentiments are shared by residents across the Bexley and London as a whole.
“Our inquiries are ongoing and we will continue to work with our colleagues in the London Fire Brigade to fully understand the cause of this terrible incident.”
London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said: “This is a truly terrible incident which is both sad and shocking.
“Our thoughts are with the family, friends and local community at this difficult time.”
One tribute left at the scene read: "My heart aches for the loss of precious life. To your family."
Another added: "Thinking of you all at this sad time."