30/06/2008

Police Treat Bolton House Fire Death As Murder

The death of an elderly woman who was killed in a house fire in Bolton is being treated as murder.

Hameeda Begum, 71, perished and six others, including three firefighters, were injured in the fire on Little Holme Walk, Great Lever last Monday.

Ms Begum was carried out by a fire fighter when the blaze engulfed them both - fatally injuring the victim, who later died in the Royal Bolton hospital.

The dead woman's husband, Mumtaz Ahmed Chisty, 73, was also taken to hospital for treatment.

A 24-year-old woman and a five-year-old child remain critically ill.

It is reported that the fire started in a wheelie bin at the front of the house.

Mr Ahmed Chisty said he felt his wife had "sacrificed her life to save her children and me".

Three firefighters, aged 36, 38 and 39, were also injured. The 38-year-old officer suffered up to 50% burns to his lower back and legs and serious burns to his hands.

The other two officers suffered burns to their hands and arms.

A statement by released by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said: "The incident is being treated as arson and officers are still appealing for witnesses."

Detective Superintendent Sam Haworth from the major incident team said: "We are treating this fire as arson and therefore the tragic death of Hameeda will be treated as murder.

"Two people still remain critically ill as a result of this fire and it is vital that we find out who is responsible for starting this devastating blaze.

"I know the community are as committed as we are to finding out who did this, and we still have a dedicated team of detectives working on this case.

"I still want to hear from anyone who was in the vicinity of Little Holme Walk between 10pm and midnight last Monday, any information could prove vital."

Anyone with information is asked to call 0161 856 2197.

See: Fire Fighters Hurt As Bolton House Fire Kills Woman

(DS)

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