Four people have been killed in a house fire in North Derbyshire today - with the sole survivor a seven-year-old girl who managed to escape alone.
Emergency services were called to the blaze on Williamthorpe Road, North Wingfield, Chesterfield, at about 5am.
Two women and two young boys perished in the fire, while a third child - a seven-year-old girl - is currently in Chesterfield Royal Hospital’s children’s ward being treated for minor injuries.
In a press conference this afternoon, police said the only survivor was a seven-year-old girl, who managed to climb out of a window and was found in the back garden.
A Derbyshire Police spokeswoman said: “A joint investigation into the cause of the fire will be carried out by the police and fire service.
“Williamthorpe Road will be closed for several hours and local diversions are in operation.
“As the investigation continues further information will be released to the public.
“Anyone who can help the inquiry should contact the police using the non-emergency number 101.”
Police said the fire ‘appears to be an isolated incident’, while two neighbours said they were worried the fire was started deliberately.
Sandra Rhodes, 60, of Williamthorpe Road, said: “It is awful. It is terrible that something like this should happen on your own street. It makes you worry about what the exact cause is.”
Another resident, Sandra Wilson, said: “It leaves me very worried to think that someone might have done this deliberately.”
A fire brigade spokeswoman added: “It is with regret that Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service can report that at 4.58am on November 20, the service was called to attend a serious house fire on Williamthorpe Road, North Wingfield, Chesterfield, where tragically four people lost their lives.
“Derbyshire Fire and Rescue would like to extend its thoughts and sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased at this sad time.
“A joint investigation with Derbyshire Police continues.”
Bob Currie, group manager from Derbyshire Fire Service, said: “It’s a massive tragedy not only for the community and the family but also the firefighters who have done their level best to give these people a chance.”
Firefighters from Clay Cross, Chesterfield and Staveley have been attending the fire, and the head of North Wingfield Primary School – where at least one of the dead is thought to have attended – has issued a statement.
The headteacher, Simon Dorman, said: “We understand there has been a fire in which four people have tragically died.
“Our thoughts are with the family.”