A seven-year-old boy has died in a suspected arson attack after a house fire in south-east London.
Two women jumped from the first floor of the property in Deptford before firefighters arrived in the early hours on Tuesday morning.
They were taken to hospital for treatment for non life-threatening injuries, but firefighters entered the house and found the boy dead inside.
He has been named as Joel Urhie by his father John Uhrie, who told reporters at the scene: “Its terrible, the pain we cannot forget.”
The devastated 54-year-old father added: “He played with everyone around here. He was a very nice looking boy.”
A family friend, who asked not to be named, said the “very quiet boy” lived in the house with his mother, a nurse, and his sister.
“I saw him on Sunday. He came to my house and we took him to church,” she said. Describing the mother, she said: “She’s just an angel. She would come to anyone’s aid. Everybody living on this street would know her. She’s that type of person.
“She’s very caring, she’s selfless. This should not be happening. She doesn’t deserve this. She’s so nice, a very law-abiding citizen.”
The Metropolitan Police have launched an arson investigation, having deemed the fire to be suspicious, but no arrests have been made.
Neighbours told of their shock at the boy’s death as investigators worked inside the fire-ravaged house behind a police cordon.
Wale Arthur, 39, said: “I saw him last on Friday. It was my birthday so we had a barbecue. He was a very happy lad.”
Kayla McClellan , 23, who lives next door to the property, said: “I just woke up to screaming and when we opened the door a wall of fire came through the front and we immediately closed it and went out through the back.”
Next-door neighbour Andre Pavanello, 21, said he heard “really, really loud screaming”.
“As I came out here I heard screaming and the front of the window smashed,” he added.
“I think they had to smash the window to get out and they had to jump out because the fire was getting too big.”
He added: “I think that he (the boy) was trapped inside the room because the flames were way too big to start with.”
Clive Stagg, 64, said “all hell was breaking loose” and added: “I have never seen anything like it. The whole house was ablaze.
“You couldn’t even get near it, even if you would have tried.”
Six fire engines and around 35 firefighters tackled the blaze at a house on Adolphus Street after they were called at 3.25am.
The fire raged for an hour and a half and nearby properties were evacuated as a precaution until crews managed to bring the fire under control just before 4.50am.
A London Fire Brigade spokesman said: “Firefighters arrived to find a very severe fire inside the house.
“The ground floor was badly damaged by the blaze, as well as the whole of the first floor and the stairs from the ground to the first floor.
“Two women jumped from first floor level shortly before the first firefighters arrived at scene. They were both treated at the scene by firefighters and London Ambulance Service crews.
“Sadly, a seven-year-old boy was found deceased by firefighters inside the property.”
The Met Police’s Homicide and Major Crime Command continue their investigation.
Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan, of Lewisham Police, said: “We continue to work with our London Fire Brigade partners to establish the circumstances around this tragic death.
“Road closures and a crime scene remain in place at this time and we appreciate the cooperation of local residents in the surrounding area.
“Our thoughts are with the child’s family and specialist officers are providing them with support and will be keeping them informed as the investigation progresses.
“At this early stage there are a number of possible lines of enquiry however officers retain an open mind with regard to motive.
“I appeal to anyone who has information concerning this fire to contact police without delay.”
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/07/boy-seven-dies-deptford-house-fire-treated-arson/