A father and his 1-year-old infant daughter died in an Oakland arson fire this past weekend— one that’s believed to have been a retaliatory attack directed toward the wrong man.
Esam Nagi Musleh and his daughter Aliyah died after their home was engulfed in flames Saturday at 12:14 a.m., with the Oakland Police Department adding that two others were injured in the fire. Musleh, who his brother-in-law Faisal Alsamma described as a “hard worker” and “giving guy,” reportedly ran back in the home after escaping the fire to save Aliyah, his pregnant wife, and disabled mother-in-law, according to a LaunchGood campaign.
“The father and the child were found together,” Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong told KPIX. “And so it’s really sad, but the father is a hero. He sacrificed his life.”
Musleh reportedly fled to the U.S. from Yemen five years ago and lived with his wife, daughter, and extended family, according to the family’s campaign.
“Esam’s family home has always had an open-door policy for loved ones and community members. In fact, at the time the fire broke out Esam was providing for 15 family members at the house,” the page read. “This is a community-centered family, who has long since been a huge part of Oakland. This tragedy has impacted this family, their neighbors and the whole community.”
Musleh was working at a liquor store last week when someone shot and killed another man, Dejoh Woods, who investigators believe had ties to a local gang. The fire at Musleh’s home was likely a retaliatory attack, KPIX reports, despite him not having involvement in the shooting.