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Open fire 'sparked house blaze'

A house blaze which killed four young children may have been caused by a spark from an open fire, firefighters have said.

Officers examining the blaze at the semi-detached house in Hulland Ward, Derbyshire, found it was most likely to have been started by a "stray spark or ember from an open fire".

Four young brothers and sisters - nine-year-old Tommy Henson, six-year-old Alisha Henson-Nulty, Rocco Henson-Nulty, four, and Appolonia Henson, two - died as a result of the fire on Monday night.

Rachel Henson, the children's mother, managed to escape from the property in Highfield Road but was unable to get back inside to rescue the youngsters, who were sleeping upstairs.

She was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and was discharged on Tuesday.

Gavin Tomlinson, area manager for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, said that there is also no evidence there were working smoke alarms in the property.

He said: "We believe this tragedy was the result of a spark or ember falling from an open fireplace in the lounge.

"Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family at this time.

"This incident demonstrates how easily a fire in the home can devastate lives."

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