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Young victims of house blaze named


Firefighters were called to the scene during the early hours of Sunday morning

Firefighters were called to the scene during the early hours of Sunday morning

Firefighters were called to the scene during the early hours of Sunday morning

Three children killed in a house fire have been named by police.

Amy Smith, 17, her six-month-old daughter Ruby-Grace Gaunt, and friend Edward Green, also 17, died at a property in North Street, Langley Mill, Derbyshire, in the early hours of yesterday, Derbyshire Constabulary said.

The baby's father, Shaun Gaunt, and two other people are believed to have also been caught up in the blaze.

Police are still investigating whether the fire was started deliberately.

A tribute site has been set up in memory of those who died.

Katie Gough said: "Knowing the baby was only six months old is so heartbreaking, and 17 years of age is too young to die."

Jodie Mee wrote: "Rest in peace girls and Ed, heaven has gained two beautiful girls and a strong boy. Thoughts go out to their family and all the people who knew them.

"(They're) in a safe place now, Ruby will be in mummy's arms and Ed will be standing by them both. Fly high beautifuls, sleep tight."

Another, writing as Lewis Ph, added: "Love you bro, I'll never forget the times we had together. We were close mates for a long time, best mates. You were like a brother to me and nothing will ever change that. RIP brother."

Leanne Marie said: "Three young people taken too young. Such an awful thing to happen. My thoughts are with the families at this awful time."

An investigation has been launched in to what might have caused the fire.

A Derbyshire Police spokesman said: "Investigating officers say they are keeping an open mind as to the cause of the fire and have not ruled anything out at this early stage in the inquiry.

"Police are not in a position to give any further details of those who died in the fire as they are still tracing family members.

"Several neighbouring properties were evacuated as the fire caused a gas leak."

One fire appliance was sent to the property after Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service (DFRS) was initially called at 3.59am to a car fire in North Street.

A further three appliances were mobilised following a call two minutes later reporting the house fire.

A DFRS spokeswoman said: "Tragically one male, one female and a female infant were unable to escape the fire and have been pronounced dead at the scene. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the family and friends of the deceased."

Neighbours said they had gone to help those stuck inside the house with ladders before emergency services arrived.

John Dunkley, a watch manager with Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, tweeted: "Terrible night shift. Thoughts with all personnel from all emergency services involved at Langley Mill this morning."

Neighbour Paul Barber, 33, who lives in the flat next door to the one affected, said he and his wife were woken at 4am by banging on their door alerting them to the blaze.

Mr Barber said they ran outside and could see a "big glow" and high flames.

He said: "People were screaming for help, it was very chaotic. I saw one person throwing their child out of the window on to a mattress to get him safe.

"It's a big shame, they were a very cute family."

East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) said it had treated five patients at the scene for smoke inhalation before they were taken to hospital.

Joe Garcia, EMAS associate director of operations, said: "We responded to a very tragic incident during the early hours of this morning where two adults and an infant died.

"Our crews were sent to a fire in Langley Mill after Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service called for our assistance at around 4am.

"Three ambulances, a paramedic team leader and our hazardous area response team were sent to the emergency and provided medical support to five patients for smoke inhalation.

"Four patients were taken to Queen's Medical Centre and one patient to Royal Derby Hospital.

"I would like to thank our crews for their hard work at this challenging job and express our condolences to the families of those involved."

Further tributes on Facebook described Edward as a hero.

Kimberley Sims wrote: " It's so sad. Life's way too short you just never know what's around the corner.

"Sleep tight all three of you. Ed... You died a hero! For that Amy and Ruby's family will forever be thankful."

Dayen Smith added: "To respect Edward Green... Amy Smith and little baby Ruby who died tragically in a fire please join and respect what's happened on that tragic day... more innocent poor souls taken from us."