Toddler died after climbing on fireguard fitted by council

Hawwa Khan died after falling on to a gas fire after climbing on a safety guard fitted by a Bradford Council-run children's centre.  Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Hawwa Khan died after falling on to a gas fire after climbing on a safety guard fitted by a Bradford Council-run children's centre. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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The death of a toddler who suffered severe burns after falling into a gas fire has been ruled a tragic accident.

Hawwa Khan was just 23-months-old when she died from multiple organ failure after suffering 60 per cent burns when she climbed onto a fireguard from a footstool and lost her balance.

The infant had been unattended for just seconds when the accident happened at her home in Bradford in December 2011.

The inquest heard the tot’s clothes ignited and her parents desperately tried to douse the flames in a bathtub.

At the hearing into the youngster’s tragic death in Bradford yesterday, Hawwa’s mother Bushra Kauser said it was obvious the fireguard, provided by a council home safety scheme, didn’t fit the large, raised fireplace in their living room.

She said: “A man came to fit the fireguard about a year before the accident. It was obvious that it wasn’t suitable.

“We had been told by the council we were eligible for free home safety measures. Two people came round to inspect our home and sent a man round to fit the fireguard, along with a safety gate, in our home.

“He said the fireplace wasn’t completely covered, but that it would do the job. I don’t remember being given any documents with instructions on how to use it.

“He just showed me how to hook it to the wall and remove it.”

Ms Kauser had popped out of the room at the time and told the hearing she ran into the room when she heard her daughter, an only child, screaming.

“I was upstairs getting some clothes for my daughter when I heard her scream.

“I ran down and saw her on fire and woke my husband to help,” she said.

Hawwa was rushed to hospital in Bradford before being transferred to a special burns unit at Manchester Royal Infirmary, where she later died.

The fireguard was made by the Royal Society of Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and fitted by firm Crestra Ltd as part of a family safety measures scheme with the local safeguarding children’s board.

Glynn Heeney, who fitted the safety device in the house, told the inquest he couldn’t recall fitting it in the main living room.

Assistant coroner Oliver Longstaff said: “These events are events from which no one ever truly recovers. It’s only human to cast around to think what could have been done differently.

“There is an irony in the likelihood with how Hawwa came to contact with the fire by the fireguard that was there to protect her.

“Various hypotheses have been brought forward. It’s unlikely that Hawwa fell directly into the fire, if so she would not have got out and onto the other side of the fireguard.

He said Hawwa’s death, on the balance of probabilities, was more to do with the placing of the footstool she used to climb onto the fire guard.