Family’s lucky escape after fire wrecks home

ESCAPED: Zahir Asmal stands outside his house, which was wrecked by a fire on Monday. (d13041176)
ESCAPED: Zahir Asmal stands outside his house, which was wrecked by a fire on Monday. (d13041176)

A FAMILY had a lucky escape when their home was gutted by a fire.

Neighbouring homes were evacuated and firefighters spent four-and-a-half-hours tackling the fire.

The blaze started at Zahir Asmal’s house in Orchard Street, Savile Town, on Monday afternoon. It is thought to to have been sparked by a phone charger in Mr Asmal’s bedroom.

He has now lost all of his possessions, and the family’s home insurance policy expired just a few months ago.

Mr Asmal had just returned from work at around 3pm when his nephew, Saad, said he could smell burning.

When he saw smoke coming down the stairs, Mr Asmal called out to his father, who was asleep upstairs, and his mother and brother who were also in the house.

He said: “I tried to get some water and buckets, but after chucking the first bucket of water the fire just went so quickly. It was all black and I couldn’t see anything at all.”

All of the occupants escaped and Mr Asmal, 27, was taken to Dewsbury and District Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. He was discharged that evening.

Mr Asmal had stayed inside the burning house because he thought his brother, Zuber, was still inside, but he had climbed out of the window.

The two brothers live at the house with their father, Issak, and mother, Zarina, who uses a wheelchair.

They are now staying with Mr Asmal’s sister, Farzana, in nearby Wharf Street.

Mr Asmal said the local community had come together to support them, and he wants to organise a collection to help his family.

He said: “We were just lucky it didn’t happen at night and there were people nearby to help us.”

The houses on either side of the damaged property were evacuated as firefighters from Dewsbury, Batley, Ossett and Wakefield spent four-and-a-half hours extinguishing the blaze.

Fire service watch commander Richard Carr said the fire was “very, very serious” and that the house was “severely damaged”.

Insp Jenny Thompson said the fire was not being treated as suspicious and added: “It’s believed to have started at a plug socket with a mobile phone charger.”