Relatives, friends mourn family killed in Brampton house fire
Family members focus on helping 8-year-old Zoya Kapadia, who was rescued from fire that killed her older sister, Amina and their parents.
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Relatives of three people who died in a Brampton house fire on Tuesday are in agony as they scramble for more information.
Speaking from Pakistan, family members said they are most worried about 8-year-old Zoya Kapadia, whose parents and sister died in the early morning blaze on Madison St., near Dixie Rd. and Williams Pkwy.
Officials haven’t released the names of the family members, but friends and relatives have identified them as Amina Kapadia, 19, and her parents, Iftekhar Niazi, 48 and Jyoti Kapadia, 45.
Zoya’s uncle and cousin, who live in Toronto, were with her at the Hospital for Sick Children, where she was in serious but stable condition, said Zeeshan Niazi, a nephew of Iftekhar Niazi.
Niazi said the family had spoken to police at the Canadian Embassy in Pakistan but there were very few details available.
He said Iftekhar’s 80-year-old father and 70-year-old mother have been hit hardest by the news.
“In this age, how can they bear this kind of loss?” Niazi asked.
Iftekhar’s parents treasured their granddaughters, Amina and Zoya, as they were the only girls among their many grandchildren, he said.
Their hope is that Zoya will be able to live with them now that her parents are gone. They called Sheldon Teague, the 19-year-old man who was staying in a basement apartment and rescued Zoya, “an angel.”
Niazi said the family of four was planning to visit Pakistan next month. He said Iftekhar had immigrated to Canada in 1998 and married Jyoti there.
Iftekhar, who Niazi said was nicknamed Guddu, which means “little one,” was a businessman and Jyoti worked at Rogers, Niazi said. Jyoti returned from work at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday and spoke to family in Pakistan on the phone. She had just celebrated a birthday on Monday and was describing the dinner, cake and family time.
The University of Guelph said it would fly its flags at half-mast and hold a memorial service on Friday for Amina, a first-year undergraduate science student. Her death was confirmed on the school’s website.
“Our heart goes out to the friends and family of Amina,” Brenda Whiteside, the university’s associate vice-president of student affairs, said in the statement. “This is a tragic and incredibly sad event, and we are here to support the U of G community.”
Jemaya Balkarran, a Grade 12 student in Brampton, said Amina was like a big sister to her. She said they became close during a school trip.
Balkarran gushed about the friend she called a “role model,” describing Amina as incredibly smart, full of school spirit and always well dressed.
Niazi said Amina dreamed of becoming a doctor and that she enjoyed drawing and painting.
Amina had been in a car accident five days before her death, Niazi added, saying the car was badly damaged but she was not injured.
Since news of the fire broke, heartbroken friends have posted tributes to Amina on social media, and people offering condolences online have expressed interest in helping Zoya.
Two GoFundMe pages have been started for the family to help pay for funeral costs and Zoya’s medical and financial needs. One of the pages had raised $600 towards a $75,000 goal as of Wednesday evening, while another had raised $20,600 towards a goal of $30,000.
Staff from the fire marshal’s office were back at the scene Wednesday to continue their investigation into the cause of the fire, said investigations supervisor Richard Derstroff.
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