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  1. ITV Report

Remembering the Harlow house fire victims

Sabah Usmani and her five children died in the blaze in October 2012. Photo: ITV Anglia

Friends and colleagues of Dr Abdul Shakoor, who lost his wife and five children in a house fire in Harlow, are gathering to pay their respects exactly a year on from the tragedy.

The emergency services, staff from Princess Alexandra Hospital (PAH), local school representatives, Harlow Islamic Centre, local community members and other organisations are getting together at the Salvation Army Centre, Harlow, to spend a moment in reflection to mark the anniversary of the fatal fire in Barn Mead, that occurred in the early hours of 15 October, 2012.

The blaze tore through the house while Abdul Shakoor, his wife Sabah Usmani and their children Muneeb, nine, Rayyan, six, Hira, 12, Sohaib, 11, and Maheen, three, were asleep.

Dr Shakoor fought to save his family but his wife Sabah, 44, also a trained doctor, and their five children all died.

Dr Shakoor is currently in Pakistan with his mother, grandmother and other family members.

Dr Abdul Shakoor and his wife, Sabah Usmani. Credit: ITV Anglia

Essex Police are continuing to investigate the deaths as murder and arson.

Three men, all aged 19 have been arrested, questioned and released on police bail whilst enquires into what Essex Police has called its largest murder investigation continue.

The fire is known to have started in the lounge but the exact cause has not been identified yet.

Detectives know that a burglary took place at the house and a black Toshiba Satellite laptop was taken and is yet to be recovered.

Detectives have taken around 1,500 statements, interviewed hundreds of people and taken more than 3,000 items for examination.

The family were asleep in the property in Barn Mead as the fire took hold. Credit: ITV Anglia

Det Superintendent Rob Vinson, leading the investigation said: "I believe that someone within the Harlow community knows who is responsible for the burglary and arson. One year on I ask them to give serious thought to telling someone what they know. If they don't want to speak to police they can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where they can give information anonymously. The Crimestoppers charity is still offering a reward of up to £10,000 for information leading to a conviction. Or I appeal for you to speak to someone you trust and get them to pass on that information.

"Dr Shakoor is a private, dignified man who has had to cope with the most unimaginable tragedy of losing his entire family. He is suffering every day and for his sake I urge you to make contact."