A GRIEVING family believe a tragic mistake by firefighters may have led to the deaths of a mother and her small daughter, the Citizen can reveal.
This week, as investigations into the fateful Fishermead fire neared completion, fire and police bosses revealed the conclusion will be kept under wraps for several months.
But the family of victims, 29-year-old Bola Ejifunmilayo and her three-year-old daughter Fiyin, say they have waited long enough for answers.
It is four months since fire broke out at the Bola’s multiple occupancy home in the early hours of a Sunday morning, when firefighters and emergency services rushed to the scene.
They left hours later when the fire was extinguished - seemingly not realising that Bola and her daughter were still inside.
It was 36 hours later when the authorities revisited the house, at the insistence of Bola’s family, and discovered the two bodies in a bedroom.
“We kept saying they were missing and must be in the house. I don’t think anyone believed us at first,” said Bola’s brother-in-law Babajide Osubu.
“When we saw the bodies, they looked perfect. They had died from smoke inhalation and they were not burned.
“We believe they could have been saved. We think they should have been saved and did not need to die.”
Mr Osuba and his wife Rosaline, who raised Bola from a child, claim Bola’s phone records show she even made a terrified 999 call for help while she was trapped.
Now they are desperate to know why firefighters and police left the house without locating the bodies .
“We have been told many reasons. They said it was too dangerous to search because the floor may have collapsed. But the floor looked fine to us – and why couldn’t they go in through a window anyway?” he said.
“We believe there was some terrible, terrible mistake made that night. And I will not rest until we find out the truth.”
After the incident a woman was arrested in connection with starting the fire and charged with two counts of manslaughter.
This week city police and Bucks Fire Service both refused to reveal any details about the internal investigation until that court case is concluded .
A Thames Valley police spokesman said the senior investigating officer in the case had spoke privately to the family this week but no information would be made public until after the court case.
Bucks Fire and Rescue said it was still involved in a “range of internal and external investigations” in relation to the incident.
The main investigation will be subject to an external, independent scrutiny, said a spokesman.
“The service wishes to involve the family, so their concerns are addressed,” he added.