A murder investigation has been opened after a baby and toddler died in a fire in Nottingham.
Emergency services were called to report a fire in Fairisle Close, Clifton, at 3.17am today after a fire broke out in the first floor flat of a two storey property.
An initial joint investigation by firefighters and police concluded that the fire had been started deliberately.
A woman and two young children were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and taken to Queen’s Medical Center in Nottingham.
The two children, aged three and one, were pronounced dead in hospital.
The woman remains in critical condition.
Nearby properties were temporarily evacuated as firefighters tackled the blaze, which was finally extinguished around 40 minutes later at 4am.
Detective Chief Inspector Greg McGill, who is leading the investigation, said: “These are tragic and very sad circumstances, and my thoughts are with the families of those involved.
“Following a joint investigation with the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, we have established that the fire was started deliberately.
“We are appealing to witnesses who were in the area at the time and who saw something suspicious to come forward and help us with the investigation.
“We have a team of detectives working hard to establish the circumstances and our investigations are just beginning.”
Call for witnesses
Members of the public with information are encouraged to submit it via the Major Incident Public Portal.
Nottinghamshire Police Inspector Ben Lawrence said members of the local community should expect a heavy presence of officers in the area while a scene remains in place and investigations continue.
He said: “This tragic incident unfortunately claimed the lives of two children and my thoughts are first and foremost with their loved ones at this time.
“We understand that residents living nearby will be shocked by this news and worried about what happened.
“We will continue to maintain a police presence in the area and we will work to reassure them as best we can in the days to come.
“If anyone has any concerns, I encourage them to speak to one of our officers.”
Leader of Nottingham City Council, Councilor David Mellen, said: “I am so saddened to hear this tragic news. The loss of two young children is completely heartbreaking.
“We will do everything we can to support the family and the community during this deeply upsetting time.”
Nottingham Fire Brigade have confirmed they are carrying out a joint investigation with the police.
Band manager Chris Clark said: “Our hearts go out to the families of those involved and we send our deepest condolences.
“Alongside the police, we are working to investigate the cause of this fire and this tragic loss of life.”
Anyone with information that could help the investigation is asked to submit it to the public portal (mipp.police.uk).
If you prefer to speak to the police, please call 101 and ask for Nottinghamshire Police quoting incident 0110_20112022.
You can also contact the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.