THE landlord of a flat where a woman jumped to her death trying to escape a raging fire is to be investigated.
Two men were also seriously injured leaping from a second-floor window of the flat in New Heston Road, Heston, yesterday (Wednesday, July 10) morning, and a man’s body was later found inside.
Neither of the victims has been named by police but the woman, aged 44, has been named locally as Samshad Molohoo.
She is understood to have died after hitting her head on a cash machine below the flat, before falling onto the pavement. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
One of the two men who jumped from the property, both of whom remain in hospital, is believed to be her partner, named locally as Fareed Ahmad, 37. The identity of the other man, aged 18, is unknown.
Flames tore through the second floor flat at about 1.30am. Some 58 firefighters spent nearly three hours tackling the blaze, which is believed to have started in a room at the back of the flat, above a butcher’s shop near the war memorial.
Neighbours, who were evacuated from the building, said they heard a loud explosion which shook the walls.
They told how people had dragged a mattress onto the street below the window to cushion people’s fall but it was sadly too late for those who jumped.
Hounslow Council set up a refuge at nearby Heston Village Hall and rehoused four families in temporary accommodation, while others stayed with family and friends.
Between six and 10 people are believed to have lived in the flat, according to neighbours.
But the council said the property was not registered as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) as is legally required when there are at least three tenants who are not all from the same family.
Councillor Steve Curran, Hounslow’s cabinet member for housing, said: “The fire broke out in a privately-owned flat, but we have no record of the landlord registering the property as an HMO. We are now investigating the matter with a view to taking further action.”
The cause of the fire remained under investigation yesterday by the fire brigade and police, who were treating it as ‘unexplained’.
Sofia Pinheiro, who lives two doors along from the fire-ravaged flat, was woken by a loud explosion which she initially thought was a plane.
“I heard people calling for help and some were screaming for Allah,” said the 19-year-old.
“My flatmate said he saw one person hit the cash machine below before falling to the ground.”
Igor Stafuzza, a 27-year-old copywriter who also lives in the block of flats, said: “I heard a loud bang, which sounded like a car exploding, and felt the walls shaking.”
Deelip Silwal, who lives across the road from the flat, said: “The fire was really massive. I could see people at the window and saw them breaking the glass and getting ready to jump.
“When I came outside a woman was already on the ground unconscious and then a man jumped and I saw the police give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.”