Police appeal after tragic blaze - LATEST

The scene of a fire on Preston Road, Freckleton, where a man and three children were killed
The scene of a fire on Preston Road, Freckleton, where a man and three children were killed
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POLICE have appealed for information which could help determine the cause of a tragic house fire where four youngsters were killed.

Firefighters were called to the address on Lytham Road, Freckleton, at around 11.20pm yesterday and desperately battled to bring the flames under control.

Officers went into the building and managed to get a teenager, two twin girls and a two year-old boy to safety - but tragically all died shortly afterwards at Royal Preston Hospital.

The victims have been named as 19-year-old Reece Smith, his twin sisters Holly and Ella Smith, aged four, and brother Jordan Smith.

They also lead the youngsters’ mother Michelle Smith to safety. It is believed she was uninjured and is currently being comforted by family members.

It is understood Ms Smith was celebrating her birthday with friends at the property when the fire broke out.

Police today confirmed a number of people had been in attendance at the house when the fire broke out and said a joint investigation with the fire service into the cause of the blaze was ongoing.

Det Supt Andy Murphy, of Lancashire Police’s major investigation team, said: “We believe there had been a number of people at the address during the course of the evening and we will be speaking to several of those people to try to establish what happened, but if anyone else has any information they believe could assist the investigation, I would ask them to call us.

“This is an absolutely tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family at this very sad time.”

Fire chiefs were called in late last night after reports people were trapped inside the burning property.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager Phil Cox told The Gazette: “When we arrived it was quite a chaotic scene, with people on the high street who were very distressed.

“We committed six firefighters inside the building. They found four people who were carried out, another female was led from the building.

“The casualties were not breathing when they came out of the building so officers, along with colleagues from Lancashire Police, they carried out resuscitation outside.

“Later they were transferred to hospital where they sadly died.

“This was a tragic incident and dramatic time for the emergency services who dealt with traumatic events like this throughout their career.

“But there will be a lot of people who are dealing with this kind of tragic case for the first time.

“All I can say is the emergency services tried valiantly to bring about a better ending.”

Police and fire chiefs confirmed the cause of the blaze was not believed to be suspicious.

Mourners have been laying flowers at the scene today as the news of the tragic events spreads through the close knit community.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said crews from Lytham, St Annes and Wesham used breathing apparatus and two hose reels to bring the flames under control and worked into the early hours.