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Four children and their mother die in Essex house fire

Police are investigating a suspicious house fire in Essex that left four children and their mother dead.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Jeff Moore/Jeff Moore/Empics Entertainment

POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING whether a house fire that led to the deaths of a mother and four of her children in Essex was started deliberately.

Two boys aged 13 and six and a girl aged 11 along with their mother were declared dead at the scene after firefighters were called to the two-storey terraced house in Harlow in the early hours of the morning.

Two other children were taken to a hospital in a “critical” condition in hospital and one of them subsequently died. A man was also treated for minor injuries.

Chief fire officer David Johnson said the fire had taken hold rapidly, raising the possibility that some kind of fuel had been used.

He added that the father of the family was not in the house when the fire started and was now helping police with their investigation into what caused the blaze.

Detective Superintendent Rob Vinson, the senior investigating officer in the case, said:

This is the still the early stages of our investigation into the tragic death of five members of one family — a mother and four of her young children.

At this time we are investigating to see whether this fire was started deliberately and need anyone with information to contact us.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Divisional Officer Steve Foster said:

Crews arriving at the scene did everything they could — they were faced with a rapidly developed fire and went straight into the burning building wearing breathing apparatus to bring people out as quickly as possible.

Once casualties were out, they worked alongside ambulance teams to do all they could.

- © AFP, 2012

Read: Firefighters come under bottle and firework attack as they attend scene>

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