A man who is thought to have fallen to his death while trying to escape a fire started by an electric bike has been identified as an Afghan refugee who came to the UK after fleeing the Taliban.
Abdul Jabar Oryakhel, 30, became trapped in a 16th floor flat in Twinnell House, east Bristol, on Sunday night, The Times reports.
He was staying with his cousin in the building, alongside three friends who were there overnight.
Mr Oryakhel fled the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan last year, arriving in the UK in February.
The fire saw 90 people evacuated from the building, with eight people taken to hospital to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation.
Mr Oryakhel, whose asylum claim in the UK was still being processed, became trapped in his bedroom when the fire started at around 2am, and tragically fell to his death as he tried to flee the flames.
Two of his friends, also Afghan asylum seekers, had been sleeping in the living room and managed to climb out of a window to be rescued by firefighters. The third ran through flames to escape the flat and is still being treated in hospital for burns, The Times reports.
Emergency services were called to the blaze on the top floor of Twinnell House on Wills Drive, off Stapleton Road, in Easton, shortly after 2.15am on Sunday.
Abdul Jabar Oryakhel, 30, was staying with his cousin on the 16th floor of Twinnell House, in the Easton area of Bristol, at the time of his death
Two other friends who were staying in the flat climbed out a kitchen window in an attempt to escape the blaze and had to be rescued by fire crew
Around 90 people have been evacuated from the tower block, and Bristol City Council says it is supporting affected residents
Avon and Somerset Police said the fire was ‘quickly extinguished’ but one man died in the incident, with a spokesperson for the force saying the man ‘fell after he climbed out of a window to try and escape the fire’.
Eight people were taken to hospital – seven for treatment for smoke inhalation and one for minor burns – while three were treated by paramedics at the scene.
Mr Oryakhel is believed to have been a shepherd in eastern Afghanistan before arriving in the UK on a small boat in February, hoping to establish his asylum claim before bringing his wife and seven children to join him.
It is understood the top floor flat belonged to his cousin, Rohani Nasir, 26, a taxi driver who has lived in the UK for 13 years.
Three friends had been staying over at the flat on the night of the fire.
Two of these escaped the flames by climbing out of the kitchen window, clambering across several windows and clinging to a ventilation grille until firefighters arrived.
Mr Nasir told The Times he had bought an e-bike on Facebook Marketplace and stored it next to Mr Oryakhel’s bedroom.
He said his friends were shocked by his death.
‘They realised there was a fire when Abdul Jabar shouted from his bedroom, but by then they couldn’t escape the door from the living room and I guess Abdul Jabar couldn’t escape,’ Nasir said.
‘They didn’t know about him falling [to his death] until I told them after they escaped. They are heartbroken and shocked.’
Superintendent Tony Blatchford, of Avon and Somerset Police, said at the time of the incident that a full investigation would be carried out.
‘This is a tragic incident in which a man has lost his life,’ Supt Blatchford said.
‘While formal identification has not yet been carried out, we believe we know who the man is and have informed his next of kin. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
‘Enquiries into what happened have already begun and we will work closely with the fire service to fully understand what started the fire and how the man sadly died.
‘I’d like to thank those who have been evacuated from their homes for their co-operation and understanding and promise them all agencies are working hard to enable them to return home as quickly as possible.’
Avon Fire and Rescue Service sent 11 fire engines to the scene, along with two turntable ladders and other specialist vehicles.
South Western Ambulance Service sent seven double-crewed ambulances, one rapid response vehicle, an operations officer, doctor and the Hazardous Area Response Team to the incident.
Although the blaze was put out quickly one man died and eight other people had to be taken to hospital
Avon Fire and Rescue Service says it sent 11 fire engines to the scene shortly after 2.15am this morning
The fire broke out on the top floor of Twinnell House (pictured) in Easton, Bristol, in the early hours of this morning
Dave Hodges, duty group commander for Avon Fire and Rescue Service, said: ‘On arrival crews were faced with a serious fire on the 16th floor and deployed crews wearing breathing apparatus to tackle the fire and assist residents.
‘The upper floors have been damaged by smoke and fire, and water damage has affected many flats on lower floors.
‘The fire has now been contained and fire crews remain in attendance making the scene safe. We are working with our partner agencies to support the local community during this difficult time.
‘Our sincere condolences go to the friends and family of the deceased.’