The father of a seven-year-old boy who died in a suspicious house fire has said he is experiencing “pain we cannot forget”.
The Metropolitan Police has launched an arson investigation following the blaze in Deptford, south east London, which claimed the life of Joel Urhie.
The boy’s father, John, said the tragedy was “terrible”.
He added: “He played with everyone around here. He was a very nice looking boy.”
No arrests have been made so far and inquiries continue.
Six fire engines and approximately 35 firefighters were called to the house in Adolphus Street shortly before 3.30am.
The fire service said crews arrived to find a “very severe fire” inside, and the ground floor and first floor were “badly damaged”.
Neighbour Kayla McClellan, said she woke up to “screaming”.
“When we opened the door a wall of fire came through the front and we immediately closed it and went out through the back,” she said.
Two women jumped from the first floor shortly before the fire brigade arrived.
They were both treated at the scene by firefighters and the London Ambulance Service. Joel Urhie was found dead by firefighters inside the property.
Andre Pavanello, who lives next door, said he believes the women had smashed the windows to escape the growing blaze, but that the the boy had been trapped in the house as the flames were “way too big to start with”.
Fire crews from Dockhead, Greenwich, New Cross and Lewisham fire stations attended the incident, with the blaze brought under control by 4.48am.
A family friend said the boy lived in the house with his mother, who is a nurse, and his sister.
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 added: “She doesn’t deserve this. She’s so nice, a very law-abiding citizen.”
Neighbour, 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.”
A family friend, who asked not to be named, described Joel as a “very quiet boy”.
“I saw him on Sunday. He came to my house and we took him to church,” she said.
:: Anyone with information on this fatal fire is requested to call police on 101 quoting CAD 933/07Aug or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, or tweet @MetCC.
From – SkyNews