Reading the harrowing accounts from the inquests into the deaths of five members of the same family in a house fire makes the bravery of those involved in the rescue effort even more astounding.
Our reporter Gael Stigant has been at the inquests of the three children and two adults each day and her words will strike a chord with all of us about how quickly a fire can devastate a house and lives.
Quite rightly victim Shabina Begum, grandmother to children nine-year-old Adyan, seven-year-old Amaan and nine-week-old baby Minahil, will be nominated for a posthumous award for her selfless bid to rescue her grandchildren.
Coroner Chris Dorries said he would ask the Royal Humane Society to consider Mrs Begum after her actions on the night of a house fire which killed five members of the same family.
In Mr Dorries’ words Shabina could have opened the front door, stepped out and her life would have been protected.
But she chose to go back up to what would have been quite a scene by that time to try and get the kids. That’s where her story ends.
One can only hope we would show the same bravery in that situation. Mrs Begum paid the ultimate price but her actions will never be forgotten.
No-one can ever fully get over the tragedy inflicted on the family but the dignified way they have dealt with the inquests is hopefully a sign that they are coping and we wish them well.
Our thoughts must also be with the firefighters who battled against the ‘ferocious fire’ to try and save the family.
Firefighter Barry Ainsworth, who was one of the first on the scene, described the situation: “It was a very severe fire – a ferocious fire in fact – and it was extremely hot,” he said.
“We couldn’t go up the stairs because everything was on fire – the water didn’t seem to have any effect.
“We needed to go upstairs to rescue people. You could see the flames but the visibility was starting to go down to zero.”
We often take for granted the excellence of the Fire Service but at times like this you can truly appreciate their professionalism and bravery.
It cannot have been easy for all involved, especially with such a tragic outcome.
The events are so traumatic because of their rarity – let’s hope their frequency continues to decrease.