"You never expect things to happen"
Tributes have been paid after four members of a family tragically died in a house fire.
They were part of a Sri Lankan family and the woman, named Niruba, was killed along with her four-year-old son Thabish, one-year-old daughter Shasna and mother-in-law at her home in Bexleyheath, south-eat London, on the night of November 18, 2021.
A brother-in-law escaped the fire by jumping out of a window, however, he reportedly broke his legs.
Neighbours said they saw the “devastated” father collapsed “screaming and crying”.
Yogan Thangavadivel, who works in an off-licence, received a call from his wife at around 8:30 pm telling him that their home was on fire.
But the line suddenly went dead. He arrived at the scene to find his entire family had died.
The two children are believed to have died in their beds while their mother was hauled out of an upstairs window but could not be saved.
The family is believed to have moved to the area three months ago.
Neighbours and locals laid flowers outside the property.
One cousin said: “We’ve seen them recently at a wedding – two or three weeks ago. Happy children. It’s an accident you can’t prepare for.
“I think he said that a call from his wife and she was just shouting, fire, fire and the call went dead. It went silent.
“The mother-in-law was supposed to be flying back to Sri Lanka today.
“What I heard is they were packing her stuff to get her to Gatwick today. They were upstairs – we don’t know exactly where but it might have started downstairs or in the staircase.
“His brother-in-law was also upstairs, he jumped out of the window but he survived. It’s so sad. It’s so sad. Yogan can’t speak. It’s very sad – it’s impossible to describe what he’s going through.
“His brother-in-law is in hospital – no one has had the chance to speak to him yet. We’ve heard broken legs. It is a tragedy. You can’t prepare for these kinds of things. You never expect things to happen in the family.”
One neighbour said: “It’s absolutely terrible. We saw the blue lights flashing and looked out to see all the commotion.
“We could see they were trying to resuscitate somebody.”
A woman added:
“It’s shocking. We just hope they can find out what caused the fire.”
James Morford, London Fire Brigade’s Borough commander for Bexley, said:
“Last night, roughly about 8:30 pm, we were called to a house fire.
“Crews attended very quickly from the local fire station. Immediately on the scene, they identified they needed extra resources. They were ordered.
“Crews very quickly got to work using their tactics which they practice on a daily basis.
“From there they used a nine-metre ladder and breathing apparatus to make access to the building and carry out four rescues.”
It was claimed that a faulty fire alarm may have led to the devastating inferno, however, an investigation is underway to determine what caused the fire in the first place.