TRAGIC Melissa Crook died with her baby son cradled in her arms in what detectives believe was an arson attack.
Hours later her estranged husband Danai Muhammadi was arrested on suspicion of murdering his wife and 15-month-old child Noah at the home of Melissa’s mum and dad.
Her father Mark was last night fighting for his life in hospital with serious burns after being pulled from the inferno at 4.30am by rescuers.
Her mother Amanda also needed treatment for burns and her 21-year-old brother Bohdan broke both his legs as he leapt to safety from an upstairs window.
Melissa, 20, is thought to have moved into her parents’ three-bed terrace in Chatham, Kent, earlier this year after quitting her marital home 160 miles away in Coventry.
She is thought to have married Muhammadi in October 2009.
But although she had started using her maiden name again it is unclear whether the couple had divorced.
Muhammadi, 23, and another man were arrested in Coventry at 2.30pm yesterday – 10 hours after the fatal blaze was started.
Melissa and her 49-year-old dad were thought to be trapped in a front bedroom with Noah when the ceiling caved in on them. And last night neighbours told of their horror as they saw fire and choking smoke engulf the two-storey house.
Wedding: Danai & Mel in 2009, but Mel moved out earlier this year with son
Nicola Barrett, a 46-year-old mum of two, said: “I was in bed when I heard shouting.
“I looked out and saw flames in the bedroom, which was gutted.
“Firemen were trying to get on top of it – it seemed to go on for ages.”
Another neighbour added: “It’s absolutely shocking. That poor family have been left devastated.”
Friends told of their heartache in tributes on a local website.
One wrote: “RIP Mel & Noah. So sad – can’t get my head around it. Your dad would’ve done everything he could to save you both. You’ll be sadly missed xxx”
Another said: “I’m sorry to hear this sad news for a great family and friends. Thinking of u all.”
Bohdan was last night at Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, a short drive from his home.
But Amanda, 39, and Mark were both being treated in a specialist burns unit at East Grinstead Hospital in West Sussex.
As investigators with sniffer dogs began scouring the charred wreckage in the house yesterday, Kent Fire and Rescue Service boss Andy Merriman said: “Our crews were confronted by an extreme fire.
“They managed to fight their way into the house and prevent further spread to adjoining properties – but tragically two people have died.”
And Chief Supt Neil Jerome of Kent Police told a news conference: “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those involved.”
A spokesman for the force later issued a statement saying: “Police investigating a suspicious fire in Medway in which two people died have arrested two men.
“The men were arrested on suspicion of murder at around 2.30pm this afternoon and they are currently in police custody.”
Sources confirmed one of the men was Danai Muhammadi.