England

Edgbaston house fire: Murder inquiry after woman dies

A fire at a house in Birmingham in which a 36-year-old woman died is being treated as murder, police have said.

Three other people were injured as they tried to escape from the property on Speedwell Road, Edgbaston, just before 07:00 GMT.

West Midlands Police confirmed that the suspected arson attack was now being treated as a murder inquiry.

Attempts to resuscitate the woman failed on the way to hospital, West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

A 23-year-old woman was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with a broken leg, along with a man, 34, who fractured his wrist and ankles.

A third woman, 55, was taken to City Hospital with minor injuries.

Ch Insp Helen Kirkman said West Midlands Police were appealing for witnesses.

"Speedwell Road would have been busy just before 7am and I would urge anyone who may have information, however insignificant it may seem, to come forward and speak to us."

West Midlands Fire Service said four fire engines were sent to the scene where eight firefighters tackled the blaze, which affected 70% of the property including the ground floor hallway and first floor.

'Really shocked'

Eyewitness Michael Davis was one of the first on the scene.

"I saw loads of smoke coming from the house on Speedwell Road, the whole outside of the house porch way was on fire when I got there," he said.

"Me and another bloke ran up to the house and banged on the windows and woke the occupants up in the house.

"One man jumped out of the back window and we were calling for the others to jump out. We caught two women who jumped, but one person was still left inside the house.

"It was quite terrifying actually because there was a lot of screaming.

"There was one person left in the house and the firefighters brought them out about 15 minutes after they got there."

Mohammed Rathore, who lives in Speedwell Road, said: "It was a shock for first thing in the morning, we saw the black smoke and heard screaming.

"Everybody was panicking and I am really shocked to hear she has died, they are a very nice family."

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