Woman pays tribute to 'bubbly' sister who died after house fire

A woman has paid tribute to her "bubbly" and "cheerful" sister who died after a bungalow fire in Nottingham.

Izabela Chalastra, 46, died in hospital six days after the fire in Forster Street on 1 March.

A 62-year-old man, who was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, was later detained on suspicion of murder and bailed.

Krystyna Chalastra, 50, said two months on, she was still struggling to eat, sleep and find closure.

"I want to remember her in a positive way," Krystyna said. "To this day I can just see her all burned."

Izabela - known as Iza - was one of 10 siblings, and she came to the UK from Poland in 2016.

She lived with her sister in Nottingham for about seven months, before deciding she wanted to be independent and moved into shared accommodation.

Krystyna Chalastra
Krystyna Chalastra, 50, says the pain of losing her sister keeps her awake at night [BBC]

"My sister was a really good person," Krystyna said. "She would give anything for others. She helped so many people.

"She was so bubbly, cheerful, she was liked by everyone."

Krystyna said something shifted when Iza moved away, and she struggled to reach her.

When she finally managed to track her down about four months later, in January 2022, Iza had been through a hip operation following an injury.

Krystyna remembers begging her sister to come back and live with her.

But she says Iza declined every time, telling her sister she did not want to be a burden.

Krystyna said having broken both her hips, Iza was waiting to be granted a house so she could move into accommodation for people who were seriously ill or unable to walk.

In the weeks leading up to her death, Iza called an ambulance because "she was in so much pain she couldn't cope any more".

A phone conversation with Krystyna, on 29 February, came a few days after she had been discharged from hospital.

That was the last time Krystyna heard her sister's voice.

A day later, Krystyna went to hospital to find her sister in an "awful" state, with critical injuries.

Krystyna said she was told by doctors that the best thing to do was to unplug her from life support.

"They said it's pointless to keep her suffering and to let her pass," she said.

"I didn't take the whole situation well. I'm really suffering through her death. I'm feeling so hurt."

Krystyna said she was struggling to find closure.

"She should've been alive. She had people to live for," she said.

"I'd like to remember her as happy. She was always so bright. But since the day when I saw her like that I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can just see her all burned."

A cause of death is yet to be ascertained, with a full inquest into Izabela's death to start at a later date, a spokesperson for the coroner's service said.

A police spokesperson said: "A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently on police bail."

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