Oct 22 2012 By Hannah Bewley
sonia gardens fire
A FATHER who tried to save his wife and five children in a devastating blaze in Neasden spoke at the inquest into their deaths.
Bassam Kua, 51, was woken up by the sound of an alarm in the early hours of the morning on September 24 last year.
His wife, Muna Elmufatish 41, and his daughters Hanin Kua, 14, Basma 13, Amal, nine, and sons Yeha, two, and Mustafa, five, died in the fire which destroyed their family home in Sonia Gardens, Neasden.
Bassam and his daughter Nur, who was 16 at the time of the fire, survived the fire but the inquest at the North London Coroners Court, Barnet, heard that she suffered 90 per cent and saved herself by jumping from an upstairs window.
A statement from Mr Kua was read out at the inquest.
He said: "We put the rest of the kids to bed and left the landing light on as that's how they liked it. The next thing I knew I was woken up by the smoke alarm. I think it was about 1am. There was thick smoke in the room and me and my wife got up. I went downstairs and I saw the smoke was coming from the back of the freezer in the hall way.
I shouted at my wife to get the kids. I went to get water from the kitchen. The flames were higher than my head."
Mr Kua described how he went to get the garden hose to put out the fire but it wasn't powerful enough.
While he was in the garden he saw Nur had jumped from her bedroom window and was lying on the floor and her father and a neighbour pulled her away from the house.
He continued: "I didn't care about the fire, I just wanted to get my children out. I went into each bedroom and I was shouting but no one answered. I went outside as I though maybe my wife had left with the children but no one was there and then I heard a loud explosion. I was in a blind panic, I tried again to find my family but I couldn't. None of them answered my calls."
Mr Kua refused treatment initially even though he was suffering from burns.
He said: "I have nightmares about what happened and I get very sad when I am alone at night time. Nur is the focus of all my thoughts and I know I have to stay strong to be able to help her."
Mr Kua's brother, Abdul, also spoke at the inquest. He had visited the house on the night of the fire but had stayed in his car as he picked up his wife and three children who had spent the evening with their family members.
The coroner, Andrew Walker, said that the postmortem examination gave the cause of death for all five
children and their mother as inhalation of fire fumes.
It is believed the fire started in the capacitor of the Whirlpool chest freezer the family kept in the hall way and Andrew Vaugh-Davies, who is part of the investigation for London Fire Brigade, said if the polyurethane breaks down the capacitor can cause the freezer to ignite.
He said: "If you have a flame within the appliance and the foam becomes involved you have a fire of such intensity which can cause such damage that it can render any home uninhabitable."
The inquest opened on Monday October 22 and was scheduled to last all week but is likely to conclude on Wednesday October 24.