Teenager charged over fire deaths
A teenager has been charged with the murder of four siblings who died in a house fire, police said tonight.
Dyson Allen, 19, will appear before magistrates in Blackpool on Friday accused of murdering Reece Smith, 19, four-year-old twins Holly and Ella Smith, and Jordan Smith, two, Lancashire Police said.
They died after the blaze at a converted bungalow in Freckleton, between Blackpool and Preston last January.
Allen, of no fixed abode, was initially arrested in January and then bailed pending further inquiries to an address outside Lancashire. He was charged with four counts of murder on Thursday afternoon, police said.
A major investigation was launched after emergency services were called to the house on Lytham Road following a report of a fire just before 11.30pm on Saturday January 7.
Speaking after Allen's arrest, Detective Superintendent Dermott Horrigan said: "This is an extremely tragic and complex case and detectives have, over the past 11 months, been working tirelessly to try and piece together what happened that night, which has resulted in this latest action.
"The investigation is continuing and if anyone thinks they have any information that they think may be useful and have not yet come forward, I would urge them to do so."
The victims' mother, Michelle Smith, 36, who has five other children, was led out of the house by firefighters.
Post-mortem examinations showed that each victim died as a result of the effects of inhaling smoke. Police said the victims were in two separate attic rooms at the property, which suffered limited fire damage but extensive smoke damage.
Smoke detectors were installed at the house but were not in working order. Police said that it "became clear" once fire investigators analysed the scene that the blaze was not accidental, though it is not believed an accelerant such as petrol had been used.