A fearless father stormed into his burning home in a desperate attempt to save his three children – including a baby – who died in a fire along with their mother.
Seema Ratra, 47, died after flames – believed to be caused by Diwali fireworks – “swallowed” the house in Hounslow, west London.
An adult houseguest also died and another is missing, while the children’s father remains in hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Neighbors said father Aroen Kishen, 40, was outside and bravely tried to rush in to save his young children.
But they died along with mother Seema, 47, and the visitor on Sunday evening in Hounslow, west London.
The family had been celebrating the Hindu festival of lights at home before the fire broke out.
Neighbors had previously seen them setting off fireworks in the garden.
During Diwali, it is customary to light candles and fire firecrackers to symbolize the victory of good over evil and light over darkness.
A neighbor said: “I saw them playing with fireworks in the garden and 20 minutes later all I saw was fire.
“I saw the father outside screaming, ‘My children!’ My children!’ – He tried to break in the front door.
“I stopped him from going in and the fire department arrived about five minutes later.” Firefighters discovered the bodies on the ground floor.
Last night Aroen’s brother-in-law Dileep Singh, 54, told The Sun: “We have no idea how he can carry on after something like this.”
The police remained “open-minded” about the matter.
At a press conference at the scene, when asked if he could rule out fireworks as a possible cause of the fatal fire, Chief Superintendent Sean Wilson said: “This is currently being investigated by both ourselves and specialist firefighters.”
“I’m not ruling anything out, I don’t think we’re capable of it.”
“We’re keeping an open mind, it’s still such an early stage and there’s still a lot to do.”
Nick Marbrow, who lives on Sutton Road and has a view of the burned-out house from his home, said he noticed an “unusual amount of smoke” on Sunday evening.
He said: “When I went to bed last night I could see a lot of smoke.
“I could see an unusual amount of smoke, but then it’s Diwali and there were fireworks going off.
“It’s very unusual for this area, it’s safe here.”
Ashish Sosniah, who was passing by the road on his way to the temple, said, “A lot of firecrackers were lit on Diwali. I could see white smoke.”
Mr Sosniah said when he next visited around 11.30pm, rescue workers were on the scene.
London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said: “This is a terribly sad incident and the thoughts of all of us at London Fire Brigade are with the family, friends and everyone affected at this difficult time.”
“Staff will be in the local community today to offer support and advice if needed.