Probe continues after children die in Derbyshire fire

Alisha, six, and Tommy, nine
Image caption Six-year-old Alisha died along with her brother Tommy, nine

Investigations are continuing into the cause of a fire at a Derbyshire house in which four children died.

Emergency crews were called to the semi-detached home in Highfield Road, Hulland Ward, near Ashbourne, at about 2330 GMT on Monday.

The children named locally as Tommy, nine, Alisha, six, Rocco, four and Appolonia, two, died.

Their mother, also named locally as Rachel Henson, escaped but then tried unsuccessfully to rescue her children.

She was taken to Royal Derby Hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation but has since been released.

The fire broke out on the ground floor of the house while the children slept upstairs, said fire crews.

Image caption The mother tried unsuccessfully to rescue her four children from the burning house

Residents had tried to reach the occupants of the house but could not open the front door. That door, as well as the front and side windows of the property, were badly scorched by the fire.

Two of the children, Tommy and Appolonia, were carried out of the house by firefighters but died in hospital, while the bodies of Alisha and Rocca were later found inside the property.

'Tragic loss'

Ch Supt Peter Lewis, of Derbyshire Police, said: "I would like to express my deep sadness at what has happened with the tragic loss of four very young lives.

"At this stage there is no obvious sign of what caused the fire and a joint investigation between Derbyshire Constabulary and Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service is under way.

"We cannot put a timescale on when we will know the exact cause due to damage to the property and the severity of the fire but when we are in a position to provide more information we will."

Officers have been conducting house-to-house inquiries in the area.

A special church service will be held on Wednesday evening for the community at Christ Church in Hulland Ward.

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