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Former Hampshire doctor tells how he tried to save his family from house fire
A FORMER Hampshire doctor who lost his wife and five children in a house blaze has spoken for the first time about how he battled in vain to try and rescue them.
Dr Abdul Shakoor, who worked at Winchester's Royal Hampshire County Hospital a year before the fire, told how his desperate attempts to save them were destroyed by the thick black smoke that filled their family home in Essex.
The 45-year-old had jumped from the first floor of the house after being woken by a bang but when he realised his family had not followed him, he rushed back inside, calling their names.
But when they didn't respond he was forced to flee before he too succumbed to the smoke.
He said: “I would say I reached the room, I was able to reach the room but no one was responding.
“I thought I would be dead, I don't know how I got out.
“What was the point in saving or taking care of my own life?”
As he waited outside for help to arrive he said “every second seemed like a hundred thousand hours”.
His wife Sabah Usmani, 44, sons Muneeb, nine, and Rayyan, six, and daughter Hira, 12, died in the fire in the early hours of October 15 at the house in Barn Mead, Harlow.
A third son, Sohaib, 11, and daughter Maheen, three, died later in hospital.
Police are treating the deaths as murder after discovering that the house had been burgled before the fire started but there have been no arrests and officers have yet to determine a motive.
Unable to comprehend why someone would do this to his family, Dr Shakoor added: “Really, I don't know anything. If you are good in yourself...your wife is sincere, friendly, your kids are friendly, you have no problems in any sense.”