Police bail pair questioned over fire that killed four children
A woman, 24, and a 28-year-old man were detained after the devastating house fire on Tuesday.
Police investigating a house fire that killed four children have bailed two people who were being questioned on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence.
Staffordshire Police said on Saturday evening that they had released the 24-year-old woman and 28-year-old man on bail while inquiries continue.
Riley Holt, eight, Keegan Unitt, six, Olly Unitt, three, and Tilly Rose Unitt, four, died after the blaze in Sycamore Lane, Highfields, Stafford, on Tuesday.
A fifth child, named locally as two-year-old Jack, was taken to hospital after escaping the fire from a first-floor window with his mother Natalie Unitt and her partner Chris Moulton.
Mr Moulton, 28, is understood to have received treatment for burns and Ms Unitt, 24, for smoke inhalation. Their injuries were believed not to be life-threatening.
The arrested pair were detained at about 1.30pm on Friday, with Staffordshire Police warning the public not to jump to conclusions.
On Saturday, the force said: “A 24-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence following a house fire in Stafford have been bailed while inquiries continue.”
Noting the “huge impact on the community”, officers called for the public not to speculate as to the circumstances of the fire.
“The man and woman arrested are living at an address out of the area,” the police statement added.
#Update A 24-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence following a house fire in Stafford have been bailed while enquiries continue. The man and woman arrested are living at an address out of the area. https://t.co/e1vzxUfmMy pic.twitter.com/VRVkumAK3m— Staffordshire Police (@StaffsPolice) February 9, 2019
Part of the roof of the house collapsed during the blaze, while the windows smashed and the inside appeared to have been left blackened by smoke.
A fundraising page set up for the family of the four children has since reached more than £29,500 – with more than 1,800 people donating money.
Emotional tributes were paid to the children, with teachers describing them as “bright, happy, loving and lively”.