Nottingham fire: Children killed in blaze mourned by neighbours

A baby and toddler have died and their young mum is fighting for her life following a suspected arson attack at their home.

Police have confirmed the children, both girls, were aged three and one, while their mother is 28.

A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of double murder.

A witness described seeing paramedics carrying out CPR for around 20 minutes.

Emergency services had rushed to the scene as the blaze ripped through the property in Fairisle Close, Clifton, Nottingham, at 3.17am yesterday.

The children were taken to the city’s Queen’s Medical Centre along with their mum, but were both later pronounced dead.

Neighbouring properties were temporarily evacuated with the fire extinguished at 4am.

The cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed.

Police confirmed the man arrested is from Clifton and remains in custody being quizzed by detectives.

Nottingham City Homes, which manages the property on behalf of Nottingham City Council, confirmed it had had its annual gas and smoke alarm service in February – contrary to claims suggesting otherwise.

Councillor Kevin Clarke, of Clifton East Ward, told the Mirror this morning: “It’s absolutely terrible, the whole community is shocked by it.

“It’s a very close community this. It’s one of the biggest housing estates in Europe. And it’s just taken us back, I can’t believe it’s happened on this estate.

“We’re frequently up there to do with any issues that might be going on. It’s one of the newer parts of Clifton, built in the 60s. Very close knit and it’s just so sad.”

Asked if he’d been down to the scene and spoken to neighbours, he said: “Not at the moment, I don’t think it’s appropriate to go down.

“The police are still at the scene now. I will be wandering down later on this afternoon and just gauging the reality of it all, really.”

He said he was first made aware of the fire yesterday when he was rang by the police.

The councillor then spoke to the portfolio holder for NCH who told him two children had died.

He said: “I don’t know how long they’ve been living in the house, apparently they haven’t been living in the house [very long]. I personally don’t know the lady or the children.”

A local resident, who did not wish to be named, said he had been alerted to the fire engines while watching a film.

He then saw smoke billowing from the rear windows of the flat.

He told the Daily Telegraph: “I saw the blue lights and smoke was coming out of the top windows.”

He said the toddler was brought outside first, with the baby being carried out by a firefighter shortly afterwards.

Estimating that CPR was then carried out at the scene for around 20 minutes, the man added: “It was dark and raining and with the smoke I couldn’t see what was happening behind the fire engine.

“It’s sickening. I feel so sorry for the family. How is she going to feel when she finds out she’s lost the children?”

Neighbour Steven Davies didn’t know the family by name but says they’d lived in the flat above him for as long as he’s lived there.

He described how he used to see the children playing in the back garden.

He told Sky News: “She was a lovely lady, she was really kind.

“It’s devastating because obviously it’s two little kids.”

Laura Smith, 34, a childminder who was evacuated from her home on Sumburgh Road, told NottinghamshireLive: “All I saw was the smoke. I could hear all the sirens as well.

“We were evacuated at about 4.30am. It was really a bit frightening, I had to wake up my 12-year-old daughter and get her out.”

Inspector Karl Thomas, district commander for Nottingham South of Nottinghamshire Police, said today: “A one-year-old and a three-year-old have tragically lost their lives in a fire during the early hours of the morning of 20th November.

“The mother, a 28-year-old female, is in a critical condition and our prayers are with her at this time.

“Detectives are working around the clock, very diligently, to try and piece together this enquiry and police can confirm an arrest has been made.

“Those enquiries will not stop because detectives will keep an open mind and we will turn every single stone to make sure that this family get justice.

“I’d like to reassure the local community we will have high visibility patrols in the area and hopefully that will offer reassurance.

“If anybody has any information please come forward on our 101 force number to the control room.

“Even if you think it’s not worthy it is important to us so we can either confirm or deny to chase those enquiries.

“From me just to offer reassurance to the community that this matter is being delt with at the highest of levels and we’ve done everything we can to get justice for this family.”

Group Manager for Prevention at Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, Chris Clark, said: “All of our thoughts are with the family of those involved and we send our deepest condolences.

“Alongside the police we will now investigate the cause of this fire and tragic loss of life.

“We recognise what has happened will be deeply distressing for the local community, and we will be in the area to offer reassurance to residents over the coming days.”