The mother perished in the fire according to Guangdong TV. The father suffered severe burns and was sent to the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), while the daughter was said to have a head injury.
The family lived on the sixth floor in a housing complex in Guangzhou City, China. When the fire broke out on June 19, the family apparently was unable to escape, and resorted to hiding on the metal railing installed outside their window, according to Chinese media Guangdong TV.
This metal railing is often called “anti-theft windows” in China, and are used to prevent people from climbing inside the house. The anti-theft window was made of welded metal, and did not include any openings.
Footage and pictures taken by eyewitnesses show that the family resorted to hiding in one corner of the anti-theft window, where the fire was least intense.
The daughter was closest to the corner, with the father surrounding her with his body—and his back to the fire.
One image shows what may be the mother, sitting behind the father, with her back to the metal railing. Another image appears to show her lowered head, arm, and leg, with the rest of her body behind her husband.
An unnamed neighbor told Chinese online media outlet The Paper.cn that the mother had her hair all burned off.
The three do not move as the fire burns, and even though the father and daughter survived, they did not move even after the fire was extinguished.
The neighbor said the mother stayed at home and cared for her children. The girl is the youngest of three children in the family. “Her husband had gone to work, then came back home during his break,” the neighbor told The Paper.cn in a video.
Official reports from the Guangzhou Fire Department say that 16 fire trucks were sent to the scene, with 99 firefighters. The fire started at 2:56 p.m., and was extinguished at 3:31 p.m.
Some eye witness reports suggest that the fire was burning for over an hour.
After the fire was extinguished, the father was taken to the local hospital’s ICU burn unit, according to the Guangdong TV news. The girl suffered a serious injury to the head, but the report did not say if it was from the fire.
The area was opened back to the public after 9:00 in the evening, according to official fire department statements.