A murder investigation has been opened after a baby and a toddler died in a ‘deliberate’ flat fire in Nottingham.
The emergency services were called to reports of a fire the Clifton area of the city at 3.17am today, where people had become trapped in a first-floor flat.
An initial investigation concluded the fire was started deliberately.
A woman, thought to be in her 30s, and two children were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and taken to Queen’s Medical Centre n the city.
The children, girls aged three and one, were pronounced dead at the hospital.
The woman remains in a critical condition.
Nearby homes were evacuated as fire crews tackled the blaze, which was eventually put out at 4am.
The next-door neighbour told Sky News: "We saw the blue lights and looked out the bedroom window and the smoke was coming out the top window of the flat.
"The older child was carried out first and then the baby.
"They took them over to the other side of the road and we’re doing CPR for about 20 minutes.
"I assume they were then taken away by ambulance but it was dark and raining too hard to see.
"All day we were told we can’t leave the building.
"I feel sick and so sorry for the children and the family. How’s she (the woman) going to feel when she finds out she’s lost the children?"
A joint investigation
Detective Chief Inspector Greg McGill, who is leading the investigation, said: "These are tragic and very sad circumstances, and my thoughts are with the family of those involved.
"Following a joint investigation with Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service we have established that the fire was started deliberately.
"We are appealing for witnesses who were in the area at that time and saw something suspicious to please come forward and help us with the investigation.
"We have a team of detectives who are working hard to establish the circumstances and our inquiries remain in their early stages."
David Mellen, the leader of Nottingham city council, said: "I am so saddened to hear this tragic news. The loss of two young children is completely heartbreaking.
"We’ll do all we can to support the family and community at this deeply upsetting time."
Inspector Ben Lawrence, of Nottinghamshire Police, said local residents should expect to see officers in the area while a crime scene remains in place and inquiries continue.
"This tragic incident has resulted in two children sadly losing their lives and my thoughts, first and foremost, are with their loved ones at this time," he said.
"We understand residents living nearby will be shocked by this news and have concerns about what happened.
"If anyone has any concerns I’d encourage them to speak to one of our officers."
Anyone with information that could assist the investigation is asked to submit it to the Public Portal (mipp.police.uk).
If you would prefer to speak to police, please call 101 and ask for Nottinghamshire Police quoting incident 0110_20112022.
Alternatively, contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
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