Tragic fire victim Shabina Begum 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 following her actions on the night of a house fire which killed five members of the same family.
Mr Dorries concluded the cause of the horrific fire last April was ‘undetermined’.
He recorded verdicts of accidental death for Mrs Begum, aged 53, along with her daughter, Anum, aged 20, and grandchildren Adyan, nine, Amaan, seven, and nine-week-old Minahil.
The inquest at Sheffield Coroners Court heard Mrs Begum had unlocked the front door of the family home on Wake Road, Nether Edge, as the fire broke out.
Mr Dorries said: “She bundled at least one, if not both, of the younger ladies out of the house to safety but has chosen to go back into the fire and smoke in an effort to rescue the four occupants who were upstairs.
“It was brave conduct that undoubtedly cost her life. I believe she should be acknowledged.”
Both Mr Dorries and South Yorkshire Police senior investigating officer Kevin Brown praised the surviving family members for the way they conducted themselves during the investigations and inquests.
Det Insp Brown said: “It’s been one of the most difficult cases I have dealt with.
“I would like to commend the family, it’s been a difficult time for them. They were nothing but helpful and understanding throughout.”
Mr Dorries added: “They have shown great dignity in times which must be unimaginably horrible for them.”
Previous reports of the tragedy have suggested a faulty phone charger caused the fire. However, experts agreed the phone charger which was plugged into a socket in the rear living room – where the fire started – was in full working order.
Forensic fire investigator Sarah Griffith had told the inquest: “I came down to the view that a fault associated with the mobile phone battery seemed to be the most likely cause of the fire and I’m still in the position that I can’t entirely rule it out.”
But in his conclusion, Mr Dorries said: “The exact cause of the fire has not been established but was undoubtedly accidental in nature. The deceased were unable to escape and perished in the blaze.”
Commendations for brave firefighters
The firefighters who battled temperatures of up to 1,000C at the Wake Road tragedy have been commended to the Chief Fire Officer.
The whole crew – including two firefighters who battled their way up a burning staircase in zero visibility – were praised by Coroner Chris Dorries at the inquests.
Mr Dorries said: “I will commend the whole crew to the Chief Fire Officer.
“It’s incredibly brave and the whole team seemed to work slickly. They couldn’t save lives but it wasn’t through lack of trying. The stairs can collapse under you can all sorts of things.”
After the inquest, South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue’s head of community safety Kevin Ronan said: “We echo the words of the coroner who commended the actions of the first crew in attendance. The inquest was told that this was the most ferocious domestic fire firefighters with more than 25 years experience had ever attended, and it is right that their actions have been recognised.”
He added: “Fires as serious as this are fortunately very rare, but when they do happen they affect our firefighters and the wider community very deeply.
“We’d remind people that whilst smoke alarms have the potential to save lives in house fires, they will only do so if people take the appropriate action when the alarm sounds- to get out, stay out and call 999.
“One of our main safety messages during talks and safety visits is to shut internal doors at night to stop the spread of a fire in the event one does occur.
“Unfortunately it does not appear that this happened at this incident, meaning the blaze spread incredibly quickly.”
For more fire safety advice, click here.