A young girl has tragically lost her life after bravely shielding her baby brother from a deadly blaze when their home caught fire.
Chen Zimo, 12, succumbed to critical injuries on 27th February following five days of treatment, while her brother, Chen Mozi, 5, remains hospitalised.
Video Credit: AsiaWire
Their father, Chen Hao, 42, recalls hearing Zimo’s cries for help in the early hour of the morning on 22nd February when he opened his bedroom door to a “wall of fire”, which pushed him back inside.
The family of four had been asleep in the two-storey home in Taoyuan County, which is in the city of Changde in Central China’s Hunan Province, when the blaze started at roughly 3am local time.
Chen Hao, a local restaurant owner, said he was forced to climb the outside of their home to reach his children’s bedroom balcony.
He recalled finding their room filled with smoke – and his children no longer crying or shouting.
Young Mozi was wrapped in a blanket on the floor, while his sister Zimo lay on top of him like a “shield”, the dad said, adding that he then dragged both kids out of the house.
Rescuers rushed the family to Changde First People’s Hospital, where the younger brother was diagnosed with burn injuries on 28 percent of his body.
His sister, however, was unconscious and sustained 55 percent burns, Doctor Liu Bo revealed.
The medic said Zimo underwent two emergency surgeries but remained in intensive care due to severe burns and inhalation injuries.
According to Chinese media, members of the public donated upwards of 1 million RMB (112,690 GBP) in just six hours to Chen Hao and his wife, who is a nurse at a local hospital.
The grateful father urged members of the public to stop the fundraising just hours before his daughter succumbed to her injuries.
“I never wanted my children to be brave,” Chen Hao said.
He added: “I only ever hoped they would be safe.”
His son is conscious and has reportedly asked after his beloved sister.
Chen Hao claims he has lied to his boy, saying she is in the room next door.
A funeral attended by hundreds of Zimo’s school friends, teachers and neighbours has already been held.
Zimo is being hailed as an ‘angel’ by Chinese state media.
The cause of the house fire is still under investigation.