Teen arrested over deaths of children in house fire at mother's birthday party
Four-year-old twins Holly and Ella Smith and their two-year-old brother Jordan died after being overcome by smoke as they slept at their home in the village of Freckleton near Preston in Lancashire.
Their 19-year-old bother Reece also died when he attempted to rescue the children but was also overcome by smoke.
Police are questioning an 18-year-old from Lytham, Lancashire after confirming that the fire had started in a wardrobe in the children’s bedroom.
The blaze broke out as partygoers were gathered in the downstairs part of the converted bungalow celebrating the 36th birthday of Michelle Smith, the mother of the children.
At a police briefing yesterday Detective Chief Inspector Neil Essen said: “I can now confirm that the fire is being treated as suspicious. We are following a number of lines of inquiry and have spoken to a number of people who were at the house on the night in question.
“However I would still urge anybody who has information which they believe could assist us with our investigation to come forward.” He said mother of nine, Miss Smith, was being comforted by trained police liaison officers and relatives.
Det Chief Insp Essen said the whole family were shocked at the news the fire had been started deliberately.
He said: “Everybody is shocked. This is a tragic incident and the fact that it could have been caused deliberately or recklessly is a great shock to them.”