A woman who died in a fire made a desperate phone call to her husband while the flames engulfed the house, a relative has said.
The woman’s screams of “fire, fire” over the phone caused her husband to run to the blazing house in south-east London on Thursday night, according to the man’s cousin, who only gave his name as Jega.
About 40 London Fire Brigade (LFB) firefighters in six engines and Metropolitan Police officers also rushed to the semi-detached terrace on Hamilton Road in Bexleyheath around 8.30pm.
The Met said two women and an infant boy and girl, all believed to be in family, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Using ladders and respirators, crews managed to pull the adults and children from the property, but they were declared dead on the spot.
One man is in hospital with non-life-threatening leg injuries, while another man who arrived at the scene was taken to hospital by London Ambulance Service (LAS) crew, the force said.
Jega told that he had talked to his cousin last Friday.
He said: “He (the husband) said he got a call from his wife and she just shouted and then the call ended. It became quiet.
“She shouted ‘fire fire’.”
He added: “It’s so sad. It’s impossible to comfort him or to describe what he’s going through.”
The cousin described the young people who died as “happy children”, adding that “it looks like an accident and you can not prepare for it.”
The cousin said the family was of Sri Lankan heritage.
It is believed that the man, who has been locally named as Yogan, works under a free license about 20 minutes away and was at work when the fire started.
Mayal Mathivathanan, 46, described the father as a “very nice guy”.
“I just saw him, he cried his little daughter’s name,” he said.
“I can not imagine how he felt.”
Builder and resident nearby Scott James, 44, told Standard: “I saw the little boy on his way to school that morning. They were very kind to say hello to.
“They had just moved in about five months ago.
“It’s awful and bizarre. You see fires, but this was something else.
“Flames came out of all the windows. It was so instantaneous, which was scary.
‘I saw the lady being carried out of the window on the top floor. The father was desperate. “
He added that the fire “everything happened so fast” and the firefighters “very quickly had ladders up to the windows” as they tried to rescue them inside.
‘Downstairs was on fire and then the whole house went up. It was engulfed in flames. There was no explosion, ”he said.
James said he asked other neighbors to stay until the firefighters arrived, who “very quickly had ladders up to the windows” and pulled a woman out of the upper level.
“I saw them yesterday and waved to them,” he said.
“I talked to them just to say hello. It was just fun. It’s very sad to wake up this morning and hear that they have died.”
Ling Han, 36, who lives 10 meters away, said her family heard “sharp screams” coming from inside the house and her children told her “there was a big fire”.
She saw firefighters take two children out of the house, and emergency services tried to save their lives.
“They tried really hard to do CPR. They never gave up. They tried to do CPR for the kids,” she said.
“I was shocked. My body was shocked. I had no idea how I could help them …
“I saw a huge flame on the first floor.
“I’m just so sorry because we could see people in danger and could not do anything for them.”
A fire truck was parked outside the house Friday morning, and the black windows on the first floor could be seen behind a police roadblock.
Uniformed officers stood guard in front of blue sheets at the end of the road where mourners had laid flowers.
The cause of the fire is not believed to be suspicious and there have been no arrests, Met said.
Detective Chief of Police Trevor Lawry, Chief of Police for Bexley, Lewisham and Greenwich said: “Our thoughts go to the family of the deceased, who has suffered such a horrific and devastating loss.
“We have officers on site and I know these feelings are shared by residents across Bexley and London as a whole.
“Our investigations are ongoing and we will continue to work with our colleagues in the London Fire Brigade to fully understand the cause of this horrific incident.”
London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said: “This is a truly horrific incident which is both sad and shocking.
“Our thoughts go out to family, friends and the community during this difficult time.”
In a statement, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was “crushed” to hear about the news.
He said: “I am devastated to hear that two women and two children tragically lost their lives in a house fire in Bexley last night. My heart goes out to all their loved ones and the local community during this terrible time.
“The London Fire Brigade worked tirelessly on the scene to put out the fire and I remain in close contact with them in connection with their urgent investigation into this horrific incident.”