Mother and Newborn Infant Left with Nothing After Escaping Deadly House Fire in Distress

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A mother trapped in her home during a fatal flat fire in Aberdeen, which claimed the lives of two women, has recounted her harrowing rescue by firefighters.

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Grace Chidubem Ekohwo and her three-week-old son, Gabriel, were at their Back Hilton Road apartment on the evening of January 29, 2024, when the blaze broke out at around 6:30 p.m. The fire tragically took the lives of sisters Aanchal Subedi and Shikshya Subedi. Gabriel was rescued and rushed to the hospital for treatment.

Grace shared her experience, describing the chaos and panic as the fire spread through the building. She heard commotion and saw people outside gesturing for her to leave, but the smoke was already thickening. “I was covered in thick, dark smoke that almost got me choking,” she said, recalling the struggle to protect her baby from the heat and fumes.

Grace and her infant son took refuge in the bathroom, where she dampened a towel and placed it over Gabriel to shield him from the smoke. She tried to open windows, but only the bedroom window budged. Using her phone’s light, she signaled for help, and emergency services arrived just in time.

“When we were both covered in the thick smoke, I saw the fire service come up with a ladder to the window,” she said. Baby Gabriel was rescued first, with firefighters taking him down to safety before rushing him to an ambulance for immediate medical attention.

Grace and Gabriel were taken to The Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, where Gabriel received treatment and underwent further tests. They were discharged on Wednesday, January 31.

Grace expressed her gratitude to The Archie Foundation, a local charity that provided support during their recovery. Their flat was severely damaged in the fire, leaving them without a home. The Archie Foundation’s Family Centre, which offers free accommodation to families with hospitalized children, became a crucial lifeline.

“The Archie Foundation’s loving and caring personnel helped us in every way,” Grace said. “We lacked nothing we needed at that moment.” The Family Centre offers private rooms, laundry facilities, and a communal space for cooking and playing, giving families a home-like environment during difficult times.

The charity’s financial support service also helped replace items lost in the fire. Grace explained how they provided a new pram for Gabriel, allowing her to take him for walks. “We are tremendously excited and very grateful. I and my family are feeling very relieved. We feel very loved and cared for by The Archie Foundation,” she said.

Grace and Gabriel have since moved into temporary accommodation, but The Archie Foundation continues to offer them support as they rebuild their lives.

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