Mother's horror as seven-year-old daughter is engulfed in flame
A MOTHER has spoken of the horrific moment her seven-year-old daughter was engulfed in flames.
Zainab Aziz’s nightdress caught fire as she leaned against a fire guard in the family’s living room in Settle Street, Great Lever, at 8am on October 1. She suffered serious burns from her shoulders down to her thighs.
She is now recovering at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital where surgeons have performed a skin graft.
Zainab’s devastated mother, Rehana, says her youngest daughter, Zara, aged two, is now too scared to go into the family’s living room after witnessing her sister’s terrifying ordeal. Mrs Aziz, who was upstairs getting ready to take Zainab to school when the blaze broke out, said: “When I heard the screaming upstairs and came down I did not know what to do. I froze and was horrified.
“I’ve never seen anything like that and I hope I never have to see anything like it again. Zara is now too scared to go in the living room and we never put the fire on now because she starts screaming.
“She points at the spot and says ‘mummy, that’s where Zainab burn‘.”
Zainab’s father, Sharaz Aziz, was sleeping upstairs after a night shift when the fire happened.
He was being woken by Zainab’s screaming and suffered burns to his hands and arms as he tried to help her.
Mr Aziz, who has plaster on several of his fingers to prevent his deep burns becoming infected, added: “As the ambulance was carrying her out, I was just stunned that it had happened.
“It was an accident and it could have been worse. At least she’s still with us but we just want her home now.”
Since the terrifying events Zainab’s extended family and friends at Sunning Hill Primary School have been very supportive — but only her parents have been able to talk to her to avoid a risk of infection.
Thankfully, she is now recovering and has started to talk.
But she is still wearing an all-over body cast and will remain in hospital for another six to eight weeks.
Little Zara did not recognise her sister through glass at the hospital, with only Zainab’s feet and head visible from beneath her cast.
Mrs Aziz said: “When the ambulance was taking Zainab out, paramedics could hear Zara screaming upstairs.
“She would not leave her room as she had just seen Zainab go into the ambulance and was too scared.”
With teachers at school tipping Zainab for a bright future, Mrs Aziz says the seven-year-old already knows what she wants to do for a living.
She added: “She is a very bright little girl with an active personality and never lazy.
“She has never said to me that she can’t be bothered to go to school this morning, or ‘do I have to?’.
“She is always keen and ready to go and we’ve never had a complaint from the school.
“All the time, she pretends she’s a teacher, and she says to me, one day ‘I’m going to be a teacher mummy’.”
Fire chiefs are urging people to be extra careful if they are wearing lose fitting cotton or nylon clothing, especially when close to fires, even if they have a guard, or are cooking.
Ian Bailer, Bolton’s fire service borough commander, said: “If someone does become involved in a fire, our advice is to “stop, drop and roll”.
“They should stop whatever they are doing, drop to the floor and roll over to smother the flames. If you are a person who witnesses a fire like this, then get the person down on the ground as quickly as possible and roll them.”
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