Mid Wales

Llangammarch Wells fire: PM's tribute to blaze victims

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Media captionWhat we know about the Powys fire

Prime Minister Theresa May has sent her condolences to the family of a father and five children believed to have died in a house fire in Powys.

David Cuthbertson is thought to have died in the blaze at Llangammarch Wells, Powys, on Monday while five children are missing, presumed dead.

Three other children aged 10, 12 and 13 escaped but remain in hospital.

Mrs May said it was a "terrible tragedy" and commended firefighters for their bravery.

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Media captionTheresa May gave her condolences in the Commons on Wednesday

Speaking in the House Commons after the issue was raised by Brecon and Radnorshire MP Chris Davies, she said: "This was indeed a terrible tragedy that took place.

"It isn't just a family themselves that have been affected but the local community as well and I know that the emergency services did sterling work.

"I am also pleased to commend the work that they did and their bravery and professionalism in dealing with this issue.

"Once again our emergency services do do an amazing job protecting us. We see in so many instances. They never know when they are going to be called out to such a tragic incident."

Mr Davies said the fire "has had a devastating effect, not just on the family, but on the tight-knit community that surround it".

Image caption David Cuthbertson lived at the house with his children

Retired builder Mr Cuthbertson, 68, lived in the rented farmhouse with his children and was described by friends as a "charismatic and utterly charming" man, who was devoted to his family.

The missing children were aged between four and 11.

Police have confirmed all the victims were related but said due to the "extremely complex" and "perilous" scene, they were unable to officially name those involved.

Ch Insp Martin Slevin, of Dyfed-Powys Police, said the fire at the home was so intense it caused the roof and all floors and walls inside the building to collapse inwards.

He said it had caused "significant damage" to the building which made the recovery of the victims' remains "extremely difficult".

Image caption The fire gutted the entire building
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Image caption Collection buckets for the surviving children have been set up in the village post office

Specialist scientists are working alongside fire investigators to find out what caused the fire, which broke out just after midnight on Monday.

He said a forensic anthropologist, whose job it is to help identify people from remains, had also been brought in to help with the investigation.

He said: "This will take some significant amount of time.

"This is not going to take a matter of hours and days, this will take certainly into next week and potentially beyond that."

The surviving children are being supported by family members and police officers, while a fundraising page set up to support them had raised more than £10,000 in just 24 hours.

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Image caption Tributes have been left at the bottom of the driveway to the destroyed home
Image copyright Wales News Service

Llangammarch Wells fire: As it happened

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