A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and attempted murder following a flat fire that killed two children in Nottingham on Sunday.
The fire broke out on the first floor of a two-storey residential house in Fairlisle Close, Clifton, at around 3.17am on Sunday, Nottinghamshire Police said.
Despite medical care at the hospital, the two girls, aged one and three, were pronounced dead. A woman was also seriously injured.
Firefighters extinguished the fire and the flames were extinguished around 4 a.m. Neighboring buildings were temporarily evacuated during the incident.
Detective Chief Inspector Greg McGill, who is leading the investigation, said: “This is a very tragic incident and we have a large team working tirelessly to understand the full circumstances.
“While we have now made an arrest, the investigation is still in its early stages and we continue to appeal to anyone with even the slightest bit of information, or even CCTV or dash cam footage, to come forward.”
A local resident, who declined to be named, was alerted by the lights of a fire engine while watching a film and saw smoke billowing from the rear windows of the first-floor flat.
He told reporters, “I saw the blue lights and smoke coming out of the upper windows.”
The eyewitness said the older child was the first to be removed from the property, and the one-year-old was carried off by a single firefighter soon after.
The man estimated that CPR on the scene took about 20 minutes and added: “It was dark and raining and I couldn’t see what was happening behind the fire engine because of the smoke.
“It’s sickening. I feel so sorry for the family. How will she feel when she finds out she’s lost the kids?”
Nottingham City Council leader Cllr David Mellen said: “I am so saddened to hear this tragic news. The loss of two young children is utterly heartbreaking.
“We will do everything we can to support the family and community during this deeply troubling time.”
Detective Inspector Ben Lawrence, who has led reassurance patrols in the local community after the fire, added: “These are clearly very sad circumstances and our thoughts are still with the families of those involved.
“This has also been an extremely traumatic event for the local community, especially for neighbors left shocked and deeply saddened by the deaths of two very young children.
“We have stepped up reassurance patrols in the area and if anyone has any concerns we encourage them to speak to one of our officers.”
Anyone with information that may be relevant to the investigation is asked to provide it to the police Public portal (mipp.police.uk).
If you prefer to speak to the police, call 101 and ask Nottinghamshire Policequoting incident 0110_20112022, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org