NEWS

Memorial set for Winnipeg house fire victims

01/28/2012 07:19 EST | Updated 03/29/2012 05:12 EDT

The victims of a devastating house fire in Winnipeg, which claimed five members of a man's family, will be honoured at a memorial service set for Monday.

Hamid Farooq, who was working on the night the fire broke out, lost his wife, three children and mother.

The two adults, aged 33 and 60, and two of the children, aged nine and four, died after they were pulled from the fire on Tuesday night.

A four-month-old girl survived and was in critical condition in hospital. However, she was taken off life support Friday.

Shahini Siddiqui, the head of the Islamic Social Services Association, which has been helping Farooq and other extended family members through the tragedy, told CBC News that the father, who was at the child's side when she died, was in rough shape emotionally.

"It almost seemed like he was in a daze," Siddiqui said. "After he was able to hold the baby he said his goodbyes."

The Farooq family moved to Canada from Pakistan in 2007. His mother was visiting the family at the time of the fire, which was reported in a semi-detached home at Woodlark Place near Templeton Avenue shortly after 8:30 p.m. CT Jan. 24.

Family members said Hamid Farooq wants to bury the family in Pakistan and efforts have been underway to raise money to help cover the costs. About $10,000 in donations had been received as of Saturday afternoon.

Siddiqui said Saturday that Pakistan Airlines had also offered to help.

She noted the expenses for the trip, which were first estimated at around $60,000, may now be about $25,000.

Monday's memorial is set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Grand Mosque on Waverly Street.

Friends, neighbours, schoolmates and members of the public are welcome.

The victims of the fire were:

- Shemeem Akhtar, 60.

- Zebunesa Sadiq, 33.

- Fayza Peyawary, 9.

- Aliza Sadiq, 4.

- Hoorya, 4 months.

Police said the fire has not been deemed suspicious. The cause of death of the four who died on Tuesday was smoke inhalation.

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