Arrests as mother and son killed in Chatham house fire

Chatham Hill fire
Image caption Police said there was nothing to suggest the fire was linked to a series of recent arson attacks

A 20-year-old mother and her 15-month-old son have died and three relatives have been hurt in a house fire in Kent.

Two men have been arrested in Coventry on suspicion of murder following the fire in Chatham Hill, Chatham.

A 49-year-old man, believed to be the woman's father, is in hospital with life-threatening burns.

Her mother also has serious burn and smoke inhalation injuries while a 21-year-old man, believed to be her brother, suffered a broken ankle.

Kent Police said it was understood the men being questioned were known to the victims.

Neighbouring terraced houses had to be evacuated at the height of the fire which started at 02:30 BST.

Kent Police confirmed that the fire was being treated as suspicious but said there was nothing to currently suggest it was linked to a series of recent arson attacks in the area.

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Media captionChief Supt Neil Jerome: "We are treating the fire as suspicious at this stage"

Chief Supt Neil Jerome said: "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of those who have been involved in this very tragic fire.

"I would appeal to anybody who was in the Chatham Hill area of Chatham at half past two this morning who has seen anything suspicious, or anything that is connected with this particular tragic incident to make contact with Kent Police."

Andy Merriman, from Kent Fire and Rescue, said firefighters had managed to stop the "extreme" fire spreading to nearby houses.

Chatham Hill is currently closed and motorists are being advised to avoid the area.

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