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Neasden fire deaths: Funeral for Kua family members

People gathered at the funeral of the Kua family
Image caption Relatives and friends gathered at the funeral of the Kua family members

A father who lost his wife and five children in a fire at their home led hundreds of mourners at their funerals.

Muna Elmufatish, 41, her three daughters and two sons, aged between two to 14, died in the fire at their home in Neasden, early on Saturday.

Bassam Kua, 51, who survived the fire with daughter Nur, 16, had bandages on both arms and burns on his face.

The funeral ceremony took place at the Gardens of Peace Muslim Cemetery, where the victims were buried.

The six members of the family died from inhaling fumes from the fire at their semi-detached property in Sonia Gardens, post-mortem tests found.

Mr Kua was discharged from hospital for the funeral service but he will need to return for treatment.

'Everlasting life'

Nur remains in the hospital and her condition has been described as critical but stable.

The bodies of the mother and teenage daughters Hanin, 14, and Basma, 13, were carried to the burial site in black hearses, while the bodies of the younger children - Amal, nine, Mustafa, five, and two-year-old Yehya - were carried in white hearses.

Image caption Bassam Kua was released from hospital to attend the funeral

The procession of hearses left the funeral parlour in Whitechapel and reached the cemetery in Elmbridge Road, Hainault, where funeral prayers were held before the burial.

Imam Shaikh Haddad led the mourners in prayer as they queued in front of the six coffins, the smallest three of which were white.

Mr Kua touched the white coffin of the youngest child, two-year-old Yehya, as it was taken to be buried.

After the service Gulam Ali, a funeral director from the East London Mosque who addressed the mourners, said he told the congregation to believe not in death but "everlasting life".

Fire safety campaign

He added: "We do not believe that man is born of sin. Anyone who dies, say, under the age of 15, we called 'masoom', which means blameless, and we believe they go straight to heaven.

"And we also believe very, very firmly that if God takes a child away from a mother or father, it's a key to heaven."

Mr Ali added: "We prayed for the daughter and the father, because they're left with less people in their family. Give them strength."

The community leader said he also urged the gathering to install smoke alarms in their homes.

Image caption Tributes were left outside the family's home in Neasden following the fire

On Tuesday, the London Fire Brigade said a chest freezer kept in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs in the semi-detached house may have caused the fire.

The brigade has launched a fire safety campaign on Facebook following the incident, which it said was the worst house fire in the capital in more than a decade.

The campaign urges people to check electrical appliances and sockets at home, install and check smoke alarms, plan an escape route in the event of a fire and not attempt to tackle the blaze.

As part of the "Share It, Save a Life" campaign, the brigade said it would post fire safety tips on Facebook every day and ask members to share them.

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