NEWS
19/10/2012 12:47 BST

Harlow House Fire: Appeal Launched To Help Survivor Dr Abdul Shakoor

An appeal has been launched to raise funds to support a man who lost his wife and five children in a house fire.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust launched the fund in a bid to help Dr Abdul Shakoor.

Dr Shakoor, who works at the hospital, lost his wife Sabah Usmani and children Hira, 12, Sohaib, 11, Muneeb, nine, Rayyan, six, and Maheen, three, in the blaze at their home in Harlow, Essex, on Monday.

On Friday, prayers were said at the Harlow Islamic Centre in memory of the family and in a show of support for Dr Shakoor.

Melanie Walker, the hospital's chief executive, expressed her condolences outside the multi-faith ceremony.

Sabah Usmani and her sons Sohaib, 13, and Rayyan, six, as well as 11-year-old daughter Hira, died in their end-of-terrace house in Barn Mead, Harlow, Essex, at about 1am on Monday

She said: "All of us have been saddened by this tragedy and as a close-knit hospital community, many of us know Dr Shakoor and have been overwhelmed by what has happened."

Zia Rehman, from the Islamic centre, said: "The community is deeply affected by this tragedy but they have all come together to share their grief and sorrow and to help in any way they can."

The aim of the fund is to support Dr Shakoor through a "very difficult time", a hospital spokesman said.

Dr Usmani and her four eldest children all died on Monday shortly after the fire.

Tributes have been left to the family outside their home

Maheen lost her fight for life on Thursday night.

Dr Shakoor had been transferred to the Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, to be closer to her.

Essex Police initially treated the blaze as a suspected arson attack but no trace of an accelerant used to spark the flames has so far been found.

Although officers are continuing to investigate all possibilities it is now thought "increasingly likely" the fire was a tragic accident.

Cash donations will be accepted at the hospital's general office and cheques made payable to PAH NHS Trust with the reference Dr Shakoor 9H50 will also be accepted.