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 Post subject: Sri Lankan Family die in fire in UK
 Post Posted: Thu Jul 06, 2006 2:21 am 
Sri Lankan Family die in fire in UK

By Diana Pilkington
@Wimbledon Guardian / 05July2005

A two-year-old girl and her grandparents died in a fire that tore through their home in Wimbledon Park on Monday.

The blaze broke out at about 2.40pm, gutting the flat above Partletons newsagent in Arthur Road.

Bystanders said they saw a passer-by in an ADT van climb up his ladder and smash an upper-floor window to try and rescue the Sri Lankan family.

The distraught female shopkeeper, Gowri Ravindran, was rescued from the blaze, while her husband Rasiah, known as Ravi, managed to escape the burning building.

A local post office worker said: "I saw Ravi running through the smoke.

"The fire was everywhere. Ravi was shouting, My wife and child are stuck inside the house'.

"I sat with him for a while, and he was crying."

Mr and Mrs Ravindran were taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Firefighters retrieved the bodies of the couple's two-year-old daughter and Mrs Ravindran's parents, who were in their 70s, from the building.

The elderly couple were reportedly named as Vellupillai Sivagnanam and his wife Thanalaksmi Sivagnanam, and the toddler as Akshana Ravindran.

Her older sister was at school when the fire broke out.

Eight fire engines from across south-west London and about 40 firefighters attended the blaze.

Although it was brought under control within an hour, pockets of the roof were still smouldering well into the evening.

Witnesses said they were stunned by the speed at which the blaze ravaged the building.

George O'Loughlin, who works in Threshers in Arthur Road, said: "By the time we came outside there were flames and smoke gushing through the shop front.

"The fire seemed to take hold so quickly."

Wimbledon Park tube station was closed until the next morning and police cordoned off the area surrounding the newsagent.

Neighbours were allowed to return to their homes on Monday night.

Brendan McElhone, Mitcham fire station manager, said: "For what was a very severe fire the crews did well to keep it confined to the building involved.

"The damage either side was no more than a bit of smoke.

"People in the area are extremely shocked by the event," he added.

Wimbledon Park Councillor Oonagh Moulton, echoed this sentiment.

She said: "This is a tragic event that is being felt deeply by residents in Wimbledon Park. The family are much-valued members of our community and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time."

Postmortems were to be conducted at St George's Mortuary on Tuesday, and inquests were to be opened and adjourned.

A police spokesman said Wimbledon CID officers were investigating the cause of the fire, and early evidence did not suggest suspicious circumstances.

Firefighters are also keen to make contact with the man in the ADT van who took part in the rescue.

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