The mother of seven siblings who died after a fire broke out in their home in Fujairah told The National that before the tragic accident, her children knew they were about to join their father.
“They were asking about him all the time five days before the incident and the twins, Sara and Summaya, were pretending that he was sleeping next to them one day before the fire,” said Saleemah Al Suraidi.
The children’s father, Saeed Al Suraidi, passed away almost five years ago.
On Monday morning, all seven of Mrs Al Suraidi's children asphyxiated after an electrical fire broke out in the family's living room: Shouq, 13, Khalifa,12, Ahmad, 11, Sheikha, 10, Ali, 8, and twins Sara and Summaya, 5.
“Each night, I used to pray for God to protect [my children] and if I forgot, Ahmad would always remind me. Now they have left me alone and I still can’t believe it,” Mrs Al Suraidi said.
She recalled the night of the fire, saying that she suddenly woke up unable to breathe and thought she was dreaming.
“I didn’t know if it was a dream or not. I woke up and it was very dark. I couldn’t see anything and it was hard to breathe. Shouq was sleeping next to me and Sheikha, Sara and Summaya were sleeping on the floor in the same room,” she said.
“I used my phone light to see what was happening and then I tried to wake Shouq up, but she was unconscious and her eyes were open. I started to panic and went to see the other girls; Sheikha was still moving her head, while the twins were already dead.
“When I opened the door, the smoke was everywhere and I saw Khalifa was on the living room floor and still moving his head, while Ahmad and Ali in the other room were also unconscious.”
Mrs Al Suraidi tried to resuscitate Sheikha and Khalifa using a glass of water she had next to her bed, but they stopped breathing and then she ran to the front door calling for help.
“It was like a nightmare. I started to act unconsciously. I opened the living room door and started screaming for help and phoned my nephew, Rashid, to come and help as he was the last one we spoke to on the night of the incident and then called the police,” she said, adding that she only noticed smoke in the living room and not flames.
“I didn’t notice any flames and the place was full of smoke.
“It all happened in just seconds. In a few seconds I lost all of my children."
Mrs Al Suraidi said of her children that they were kind, helpful, happy and talented.
“Shouq used to write poetry as well as Khalifa, who was like a mother to her siblings. She used to help me with everything and was never demanding. She would give and share a lot of her things with her sisters and brothers.”
“Khalifa was the man of the house and he liked it. He was kind to his siblings and my right hand. Ahmad was also very kind, smart and liked to help others in need, and so did Ali, who was also very tender-hearted.
“Sheikha was loved by everyone and always helpful while Sara and Summaya were the soul of the family.
“My kids were very special and God has chosen to keep them by his side, but life will never be the same and the pain will stay in my heart forever,” said Ms Al Suraidi.
She said that her children were dreaming of having a house with seven floors and they were waiting to get the final loan approval in order to build one.
“The house was built 35 years ago and we needed to move to a new house, but we were waiting for the final approval on a Government loan in order to start building a house. The kids were always talking about having a big house with seven floors.
“I don’t know how I will live without them; they were everything to me, and I pray to Allah to give me the patience and strength I need to carry on,” she said.