A fire in a home in the Highfields area of Stafford has seen four children tragically dead, while a fifth child and two adults were injured. Those injuries are not considered to be life-threatening.

It happened in the early hours of this morning when the fire caused the roof to collapse, windows to shatter and rooms left blackened by the flames. A senior police officer with the Staffordshire Police described the incident, saying the loss of “precious lives” in the blaze was “absolutely heartbreaking.”

Fire leads to tragic losses

Emergency services were at the scene on Sycamore Lane in Stafford at around 02:40 AM GMT.

Staffordshire Police are investigating the incident and the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service is currently examining the home and investigating the deadly fire. Stoke-On-Trent Live reported there were a number of firefighters, police and paramedics at the scene, along with three fire engines along with an aerial-lifting platform.

Sycamore Lane was cordoned off due to the large fire service and police presence at the scene of the fire.

A spokeswoman from the West Midlands Ambulance Service said officials found a serious ongoing fire in the home. She said two adults and one child had managed to get out of the home, but unfortunately, four children have been confirmed dead at the scene. She added that their thoughts were with the family during this exceptionally difficult time.

Neighbours describe the fire

Neighbours told the BBC they awoke to an explosion, like the sound of a blast. One resident told the BBC they believed a man had jumped from a window in the home with a baby or small child in his arms. Another neighbour, Wendy Pickering said she remembers the children well, as she often saw them as she took her granddaughter to school.

Pickering was in tears and said it was a real shock to the neighbourhood.

Wendy’s husband Bryan Pickering was awoken by the sound of his dog barking in the night. When he looked outside he saw flames coming from an upstairs window.

Another neighbour, named only as Kylie, said she was “absolutely devastated” both for the family itself and because she would often hear the children playing in their garden. She added that it makes you realise how fragile life is, as in one second your home and family can disappear.

Specialist officers from the Staffordshire Police are supporting the family in their loss. Chief Inspector John Owen tweeted a message expressing his sadness over the “tragic incident.”

Staffordshire Commissioner for Police Fire and Crime, Matthew Ellis applauded emergency services for their tireless efforts during what were “tragic and difficult circumstances” in the early morning hours.

Ellis said something like this happening was “just heart-breaking.” He added that their dedicated and professional officers are also human beings, so the tragedy will also affect them.

View the scene of the tragic house fire in the video below.