A FATHER told today how fireraising thugs put his 15-month-old daughter in hospital.
Little Alifa Islam needed an oxygen mask and an ambulance journey to A&E after a fire was deliberately started in the stairwell of his flat in Leith.
Her father Aminul, 42, said everyone was fast asleep at 4.30am today when they were woken by a neighbour’s cry for help.
The fire attack is the second in as many months in Leith to put the life of a toddler at risk. In December, just over a mile away, a car was set on fire next to flats, leaving an 18-month-old suffering from smoke inhalation.
Mr Islam, a restaurant worker, spoke minutes after returning from Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children with the toddler.
He said: “We were asleep last night when a neighbour came and banged on our door, shouting ‘Help, help, there’s a fire!’”
“My daughter sleeps in another room. I went and grabbed her and put on any clothes I could.”
Mr Islam and his wife, Shahanajaktes, ran into the stairwell with his daughter but thick smoke and flames prevented him from reaching the front door.
He said: “I took her outside myself and I tried to go past the fire. I couldn’t see anything because of the smoke.”
“We stayed in my neighbour’s room until the fire brigade cleared everything away.”
He added: “She only breathed the smoke for five or six minutes, but they took her to hospital in an ambulance.
“She had to wear a breathing mask over her face.
“Alifa is alright but she’s a bit afraid to go outside now. I’m just glad my daughter is OK.”
A Lothian and Borders Fire service spokeswoman confirmed that the fire had been started by rubbish that had been set alight.
A Lothian and Borders Police spokeswoman said: “The fire is being treated as suspicious. We would appeal for anyone with any information to come forward.”
Referring to the December incident, which happened just 20 metres from Hibs’ Easter Road ground, she added: “There’s nothing to suggest the two incidents are linked but we are keeping an open mind.”