Tragic death of toddler whose clothes caught alight was 'every parents worse nightmare'

12:03pm Saturday 24th May 2014

A Coroner has described the tragic death of a toddler whose clothing caught alight when she went too close to a gas fire as “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

Hawwa Khan, aged 23 months, suffered 60 per cent burns in the accident at her home in Marsh Street, West Bowling, and died three weeks later from her injuries.

An inquest into her death was restarted in Bradford yesterday, 19 months after it was first opened and adjourned by former Bradford Coroner Peter Straker.

The hearing was told Hawwa’s mum, Busra Kauser had left her in the living room with her ten-month-old sister for a few minutes while she went upstairs.

She heard her scream and when she and husband Saeed Khan ran to the room, they found Hawwa on a rug with her clothes on fire.

Although Coroner Oliver Longstaff said what exactly happened in the moments leading up to the tragedy on December 9, 2011 might never be known, Hawwa is thought to have climbed on to a fire guard which allowed her clothing to catch fire.

She was first taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary and later transferred to the Royal Manchester Hospital but died three weeks later on December 27.

A post-mortem examination revealed she died from multiple organ failure.

The inquest heard from several people with differing views of how the fire guard had been installed, but Mr Longstaff ruled it did not change the fact that her death was a tragic accident.

Recording a verdict of accidental death, Mr Longstaff said: “It is every parent’s worst nightmare to turn your back for a few seconds and have a disaster like this occur.

“My findings no way reflect on them as parents.

“It is impossible to think of any words that can bring any sort of solace to the family.”


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