UPDATED: Woman and man held over fatal fire are released without charge
A 38-YEAR-OLD man and a 28-year-old woman arrested following a fire which killed five children have been released without charge.
They were both arrested yesterday in connection with the blaze in Victory Road, Allenton.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill said: “This is a complex inquiry which requires careful and methodical investigation. We are still treating the fire as suspicious and are pursuing a number of lines of enquiry.
“While I thank those members of the community who have come forward with information I am surprised by how few people have contacted us. Normally in cases of this scale more information is passed to the police.
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“I strongly suspect that there is someone out there in the community who knows more than we are being told.
"I fully understand that people may be reluctant to talk to us. My plea in this case is to remember that we are trying to find out exactly what caused the death of these five young children who had everything to look forward to in life.
“If someone has confided in you, now is the time to speak up and do the right thing.”
The bodies of the five children, who are all from the same family, have yet to be formally identified but with the agreement of their parents police made a decision to name them due to "speculation on social media sites" such as Facebook and Twitter.
All are the children of Mick and Mairead Philpott.
They are Jade, 10, John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six and Jaydon, five.
The youngsters perished following the fire which broke out at 3.45am yesterday.
Mr and Mrs Philpott, who were in the house at the time of the blaze and managed to escape, were last night at the bedside of 13-year-old son Dwayne, who is in a critical condition at Birmingham Children's Hospital.
Yesterday it emerged that firefighters and paramedics brought him back to life after rescuing him and his brothers and sisters from the first floor of the semi-detached house.
Police also confirmed the children were all asleep upstairs in the property and it appears their parents were downstairs when the fire broke out.
Mr and Mrs Philpott were alerted to the blaze after a smoke alarm sounded. They escaped without serious injury despite Mr Philpott making frantic attempts to rescue his children.
The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
Post mortem examinations will be carried out during the weekend to determine the exact cause of the children's deaths.
Meanwhile an incident room has been set up at St Mary's Wharf police station.
Roads close to the Philpott's home were closed while investigations took place.
Forensic specialists were last night still examining the house and the joint investigation between the police and fire service continues.
At a press conference held yesterday Mr Cotterill told how Mr Philpott tried in vain to get back into the house to rescue his children.
Mr Cotterill said: "There appears to have been some valiant attempts by the father to rescue his children and police officers and also the fire crews were there.
"I can't speak highly enough of their actions, both the police officers and the fire crew but tragically and unfortunately these five young children have died despite the valiant efforts made to rescue them.
"It is going to be a very lengthy and detailed investigation and we need to take it stage by stage.
"This is potentially a murder enquiry at the moment and we are keeping a very open mind into the cause of the fire and until I have the definitive information as to what caused the fire I am not willing to speculate any further. It would be improper for me to do so."
"Our thoughts at this time are with the parents of the children, their family and friends for their tragic loss and also for the community in Allenton who would, of course, have known these children."
A spokesman for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said crews gained access to the blaze and tackled what he called "a severe fire" to reach the children on the first floor.
He said: "All six children were quickly removed to outside the building and attempts to resuscitate them were made by fire crews in conjunction with East Midlands Ambulance Service personnel.
"This has tragically resulted in the loss of life of five children aged between five and 10 years of age."
One of the most recent entries on Mr Philpott's Facebook page spoke of his love for his children.
In it he said: "I love all my children more than life itself."
Sean Frayne, chief fire officer of Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said the incident highlights the importance of smoke alarms and sprinkler systems in properties.
He said: "This tragic loss of life has reiterated the need for further action to be taken to protect lives from fire.
"Those that have the power to make this happen must take every action they can to improve safety, and that includes the fitting of domestic sprinklers.
"The smoke alarm has done its job in this instance.
"It has worked and alerted some of the occupants of the house, but not all.
"A sprinkler would have protected those that were not aware of the fire or not able to escape."
Mr Frayne also praised the efforts of his officers in tackling the flames and trying to rescue the children.
He said: "The crews worked extremely hard in very difficult circumstances and very quickly located six casualties.
"They removed the six casualties to open air where they worked with our colleagues in the ambulance service to try and resuscitate them.
"Personnel at the scene then continued to work very, very hard to save the lives of the five fatalities.
"Unfortunately this has had a huge effect not only on the community but certainly within fire and rescue and the other emergency services at the scene.
"Clearly any fire fatality will have an impact on anybody that is not only in the vicinity but certainly those emergency personnel that attend.
"When it is a multiple fatality and when it is one of children it has a significant impact upon their emotional state and their ability to continue to perform at the level that is required of them as fire service personnel.
"Clearly we have to put measures in place to ensure these staff receive support should they require it.
"The crews who were in attendance have already received support and they are off duty for a few days before they have to return back to work."
Flowers started to be laid at the scene yesterday while shocked neighbours in Victory Street spoke of the devastation they all felt.
Joga Bains, who runs Victory News, close to where the fire happened, said: "It's a massive shock for the whole community.
"Many people around here know Mick, partly because his family is so large.
"He is a nice man. It's tragic."
Victory Road remained cordoned into the night while police continued to work at the scene.
Anyone with information about the fire should call Derbyshire police on 101.
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