Saturday, 14 December 2013

House fires

A headline in the Daily Mail just caught my eye:

Woman who died alongside husband and mother in 'murder suicide' house fire had been STABBED to death… Mahnaz Rafie died from multiple stab wounds it has emerged

Which reminded me of something else which has struck me over the years from scanning too many news articles: if you see a headline about more than one person dying in a house fire, the chances are they are Muslim (UPDATE: Kj point out "or Sikh") women and children. The other over-represented group is the elderly.

BBC 13 September 2013

Four people die in house fire in Wood Hill, Leicester. Neighbour Soheb Ali... added... "They were a really good family. They were religious; went to the mosque."

Newsshopper 20 June 2013

TRIBUTES from community leaders have poured in for a mother-of-five who died in a house fire in Plumstead on Tuesday (June 18). Caroline Kaur and her 23-year-old daughter Hayleigh were killed in the flames that destroyed their family home in Purrett Road.

Daily Mirror 23 May 2013

A teenager has been arrested on suspicion of murder following a house fire which killed a mother and her five children.

Sabah Usmani, 44, died in a horrific house blaze alongside her daughter Hira, 12, and sons Muneeb, nine, and Rayyan, six. Son Sohaib, 11, and daughter Maheen, three, sadly died of their injuries at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.

Coventry Telegraph 21 May 2013

Tributes paid to 'lovely lady' who died in Nuneaton house fire… The victim has not yet been formally identified but was named locally as Mona Soundh, a 57-year-old Asian mother of two sons and two daughters and a grandmother, who had lived in the large semi-detached villa for 20 years.

And so on. How many of these are arson I do not know, I would suspect most of them.


Ian Hills said...

So that's why there's a shortage of housing - it isn't mass immigration after all!

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX "They were a really good family. They were religious; went to the mosque." XX

Oh... well yippeee.

Hardly "Fire insurance" is it now?

Remember a while back, where an Aeroplane crashed because some camel shaggers decided to light a camp fire in the aisle?


JuliaM said...

I'll be on the lookout for such stories now to see just how that holds up...

Furor Teutonicus said...

I noticed some years back, even before I had internet, that it was 99,9% invariable, that if a wee bastard, or multiples thereof were killed in a housefire, the reference was ALWAYS to "A friend of the Mother" or "Live in boy friend." Or similar... "Just call him uncle!"

Never NEVER did I hear a report that mentioned HUSBAND.

Mark Wadsworth said...

IH, tee hee, but it's only a few houses a year.

JM, yes, the theory might turn out to be nonsense, but I've noticed it for a couple of years.

FT, no it's not fire insurance. If anything it's the opposite.

With your second comment, do you mean

a. husbands are less likely to do this?
b. husbands are more likely to get away with it?

Furor Teutonicus said...

Have not got a clue. But could be an interesting area of research for some uni student with nothing better to do after he has finished flipping burgers for the evening.

Bayard said...

"How many of these are arson I do not know, I would suspect most of them."

In that case, who is the arsonist? Cui bono?

Bayard said...

"Never NEVER did I hear a report that mentioned HUSBAND."

Well, you have now (see Mark's first story). Mind you, killing wife and/or children then yourself and burning the house isn't confined to people with an Indian-sounding name* - there was that bloke who lived near Oswestry, I ISTR others but no details.

*they could be Hindus also.

Mark Wadsworth said...

FT, indeed. A couple of hours googling and sorting, there's your answer.

B: "Who is the arsonist"?

Well, if it were BNP or EDL members, I'm sure we'd hear about it.

We don't, so let's work on the reasonable assumption that it is a family member. Most murders are by family members on each other and arson is nearly always by somebody with permission to be in the house.

L fairfax said...

They don't use candles more than other people do they?
(I don't know enough about Islam to judge)

Mark Wadsworth said...

LF, I have no reason to believe they do. I thought that was jewish people, actually.

L fairfax said...

@"Mark Wadsworth said...

LF, I have no reason to believe they do. I thought that was jewish people, actually."

I don't have any reason to believe that but I just wondered if there is any cultural practices why they have more fires.

Mark Wadsworth said...

LF, the number of fires has nothing to do with it - it's the number of fires where people mysteriously cannot get out of the home.

There are 59,000 house fires (of whatever degree of severity) in the UK each year (according to the insurers), and it is only a few dozen of those where people actually die.

I'm sure that there are careless, unlucky, stupid people in every social or ethnic group, there's no reason to assume that Muslims start more fires, it's the relatively high number of deaths per 1,000 fires which is interesting.

L fairfax said...

Thanks sorry I should have read the original post more clearly.

Mark Wadsworth said...

LF, I've checked, the number of fire fatalities in the UK is about 300 a year, so assuming equal stupidity/bad luck among all groups, we'd expect about 30 to be among Muslims.

TBH, maybe they are not over-represented generally, but I am convinced they are over-represented among multiple deaths at same house i.e. "mother and children".