POLITICS

Infant Winnipeg girl injured in house fire is 'almost dead:' relative

01/26/2012 03:34 EST | Updated 03/27/2012 05:12 EDT
WINNIPEG - The uncle of an infant girl who survived a deadly house fire that killed most of her family says she is on life support and the outlook is grim.

"Almost, she's dead, almost," Khalid Mahmood said Thursday. "The doctor told me today her brain is finished — no more blood, nothing."

The four-month-old girl, Hoorya Farooq, remained in critical condition in hospital. The only remaining member of her immediate family — her father Hamid Farooq — has been at her bedside and is stricken with grief.

"We are sitting there. We are praying and hoping God will do something," said Mahmood, who flew in from Cornwall, Ont., and is the family's only relative in Canada.

The blaze broke out Tuesday night in the family's semi-detached split-level home in Winnipeg's suburban West Kildonan neighbourhood.

Smoke was billowing out of the home when firefighters arrived. They pulled out the infant girl and four of her family members who died — her mother, grandmother and her nine- and four-year-old sisters. The father was at work at the time.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause, but have said there is no indication the fire was suspicious.

The Islamic Social Services Association, which is supporting the family, said it had been told by investigators that one of the women inside the home had called 911, but gave the wrong address, which sent firefighters to a home around the block.

"She was so panicked, she gave the wrong address," association president Shahina Siddiqui said.

The family emigrated from Pakistan in 2007 and helped other immigrants, said a family friend.

"When I came here in 2009, the first month I met with Hamid, and his family was very helping," said Mohammad Bhatti, whose children became friends with the Farooq children.

"My children are so very, very sad, and my children can't believe...this happened."

Investigators have yet to determine whether there were working smoke detectors in the home.

It is unusual, though not unheard of, for a residential fire to spread so quickly it traps everyone inside, deputy fire chief Bill Clark said earlier this week.