Grieving father who lost family in tragic house fire urges Britons to be safe with fireworks

Exclusive: ‘All I want is for no one else to lose their family,’ says Aroen Kishen, who was the lone survivor of a house fire at his home in Hounslow

Barney Davis
Saturday 30 December 2023 17:18
<p>Aroen Kishen’s wife Seema Ratra, three children Riyan, Shanaya and Arohi</p>

Aroen Kishen’s wife Seema Ratra, three children Riyan, Shanaya and Arohi

A father who lost his family in a tragic housefire has urged people to be careful with fireworks ahead of New Year’s Eve.

Aroen Kishen’s wife Seema Ratra and his three children Riyan, Shanaya and Arohi were all found dead inside their fire-ravaged west London home.

Mr Kishen was seen by neighbours screaming “my kids, my kids” when he discovered they were still trapped inside the burning terraced home in Hounslow, on 12 November at around 10.30pm.

Two other adults, whom the family invited from the local Sikh temple, Nitin Chopra and Sandhya Chopra, were also found dead inside hours later.

Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson with London Fire Brigade's Jonathan Smith speaking to the media at the scene

Mr Kishen was rushed to hospital with serious burn injuries to his arms and face after he tried to re-enter the house to save his family.

Recalling the tragedy, he said he and his daughter were sleeping when he woke up to find his recycling bin on fire.

He told The Independent: “My family and the visitors were all upstairs in the bedroom. All five in the same room. I was trying to shout their names but nobody was replying to me. I was shouting at them to get out.

“I tried my best to get to them – the first time I burned my arm, the second time I burned my face. I didn’t have any protective equipment.

“I got upstairs I grabbed one hand to take them down but I fell down and we were separated. There was too much smoke I couldn’t see anything at all.

“I woke up again and then I got outside to wake my neighbours and beg for help.

“I tried to get back inside the house but I burned my face.”

Aroen Kishen misses his family every day

He added: “I didn’t see where the firework came from exactly. I got out and saw my recycling bin was burning. How it started I do not know.

“All this has happened due to the bursting of firecrackers, they are very dangerous.

“All I want now is for no one else to lose their family. They are very dangerous for children and the entire country.”

The family, who have links to India and Afghanistan, moved to west London in July last year from Brussels, Belgium. Mr Kishen said he was now living with his sister in Southall who is trying to take care of him.

On his children, he said: “Every day I miss them. When I go shopping in Tesco I can still see them all. I can’t go anymore.”

Emergency workers discovered another body after the roof was removed

He added: “Don’t waste your life for one minute of happiness, avoid firecrackers. Do not let any firecrackers off this New Year – protect yourself and your family.”

The grieving father has lent his support to a petition set up by another family member Jai Chopra calling for a fireworks ban over Diwali.

He wrote: “We understand that traditions are important but we must adapt them for our safety and for future generations.

Aroen with his wife and three children who perished in the blaze

“We urge authorities to prohibit the use of fireworks during Diwali celebrations to prevent further tragedies like ours from happening.”

Police are not believed to be treating the fire as arson. Fireworks are being investigated as a possible cause of the fatal blaze.

An inquest into the deaths will open at West London Coroner’s Court on Thursday 4 January.

London Fire Brigade advice on firework safety this New Year

  • Fireworks should only be used in public places by licensed professionals as part of an organised event.
  • Fireworks should take place in large, clear and well-mown areas that are free from obstructions and well away from any buildings, trees and hazards like overhead cables.
  • Fireworks can pose a serious fire risk, in addition to the dangers from exploding. Fireworks can also cause damage to property and significant harm to people and animals.
  • Under the Fireworks Regulations 2004 Act, it is illegal to throw or discharge a firework in a street or public place.

Neighbours reported the fire breaking out during hectic Diwali celebrations with a huge firework display shrouding the neighbourhood in smoke.

Sayed Arfeem said: “There were so many fireworks at our windows that night – the loudest we have ever heard it in 22 years.

“Then it was police and firefighters everywhere and the ambulances started coming.

“It is very sad. I can’t believe it. How was it so quick?”

Another neighbour broke into tears as she said: “I saw the blue flashing lights.

“I came outside with my daughter. It was so foggy and smoky you couldn’t see how bad the fire was.

“There were so many fireworks we thought one may have misfired or hit a tree.

“We could see the fire behind the trees. It was a big celebration for Diwali and it turned tragic.”

London Fire Brigade commissioner Andy Roe has offered his sincere condolences to Mr Kishen after the tragic deaths.

He said: “This is a terribly sad incident and the thoughts of all of us at London Fire Brigade are with the family, friends and all those affected at this difficult time.

“The welfare of our staff is very important and all those involved will be offered support from our counselling and trauma service.”

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