A husband whose wife and two children died after a fire at their home has said they were due to join him for a new life in the USA.
Fatoumatta Hydara, 28, one-year-old Naeemah and Fatimah, aged three, died in hospital following the fire in Fairisle Close, Nottingham, on Sunday.
Aboubacarr Drammeh, who was in the US at the time, said he was in the process of securing visas for his family.
Jamie Barrow, 31, of Fairisle Close, has been charged with their murders.
Naeemah and Fatimah died shortly after arriving at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, while Ms Hydara, who had been put on a life-support machine, died two days later.
Mr Drammeh, 40, was planning to move his family to Minnesota, where he works as a biomedical technologist.
“We had an interview booked for 29 November and that would have been the final interview before we would hopefully have secured their visas,” he said.
“That’s not going to happen now and I can’t understand why.”
He said he had missed several calls from the children’s grandmother at about 05:00 GMT on the day of the fire.
“I called back and she started crying,” he said.
“I just went straight to the airport. I’ve done that journey so many times but all the other times it’s been exciting because I was going to see my family.
“This time around… I still can’t recall it. It’s just a blur.”
Mr Drammeh said he would never get over spending his 40th birthday, on Wednesday, in the hospital mortuary, adding “that was just so hard”.
‘Caring and compassionate’
He said he last spoke to his wife few hours before the fire.
“We joked among ourselves and kept talking about the upcoming trip and about her coming to America,” he said.
He described his wife, who he last saw in September, as “caring and very compassionate”.
“She was a Muslim and she truly believed in her faith,” he said.
“She’d help whoever she could. [She] really cared about people.”
Ms Hydara, who moved to Nottingham at the age of 14 with her Gambian parents, had worked for St John Ambulance and at care homes and wanted to pursue a career in women’s health, her husband said.
Mr Drammeh said his three-year-old daughter Fatimah enjoyed playing and children’s TV.
“She loved nursery rhymes and when on FaceTime with me she’d make me do the ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ song,” he said.
He described their daughter Naeemah, who turned one in July, as someone who also brought him a huge amount of joy.
“They were both really happy children,” he said.
“We wanted to move to the US but regardless of where we are in the world the most important thing to us was to give them a better life and a good education.”
A joint police and fire investigation concluded the fire was started deliberately.
Mr Barrow appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Friday and was remanded into custody to appear at the city’s crown court on Monday.
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