Fire tragedy father tells of loss
The father of six siblings who lost their lives in a suspected arson attack has broken down in tears as he issued a statement thanking fire crews for their efforts to save his children.
Speaking at a press conference just five days after the fatal fire in Allenton, Derby, Mick Philpott said his 13-year-old son Duwayne's organs had been donated to save the life of another child.
Flanked by his wife Mairead, who was also distraught during the five-minute news conference, Mr Philpott also thanked members of the local community for their "overwhelming" support since the tragedy.
During the news conference, the Assistant Chief Constable of Derbyshire Police, Steve Cotterill, confirmed that the seat of the fire was below the letterbox in the front door of the the house. Investigations had also shown petrol was used as an accelerant, the officer said.
Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and Jayden, five, all perished in the blaze, while Duwayne Philpott died of his injuries in Birmingham Children's Hospital at the weekend with his parents at his bedside.
The six children, who all died from the effects of smoke, were asleep in their beds upstairs when the blaze broke out at the semi-detached house in the early hours last Friday.
Mr Philpott, speaking at Derby Conference Centre, frequently dabbed away tears with a tissue as he thanked the emergency services.
Disclosing that Duwayne's organs had been donated to help another child, the devastated father said: "That makes us happy and it takes a bit of the pain away. We grew up in a community that's been through a lot of problems with violence and to see this community come together like it has, it's too overwhelming. Those poor gentlemen from the fire brigade, who saw what we saw - my heart goes out to them."
Mr Philpott, who is thought to have been alerted to the blaze by a smoke alarm, said: "First of all, I want to thank my three eldest children because they have helped us cope. And then there's a young lad who tried to get in the house the same as myself.
"Then of course there is the four firemen, the police, the ambulances, the doctors and nurses - everybody who tried to help save our children. We can't express our gratitude enough. It's not just us that have suffered, it's them as well - it's everybody."