A 23-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the deaths of three children in a house fire in Worsley, Greater Manchester Police said.
Another child, a girl aged three, was injured along with her mother, aged 35. They are fighting for their lives in hospital and a murder investigation has been launched.
A 14-year-old girl was declared dead at the scene and a boy, 8, and a girl 7, later died in hospital.
Chief Superintendent Wayne Miller, Territorial Commander for Greater Manchester Police’s Salford borough had said earlier in the day before the arrests, said: “We have launched a murder investigation and have a suspect in mind who we are urgently seeking in relation to this attack. All I will say is – he knows who he is and he should give himself up.
“We are appealing for witnesses to the fire, anyone who saw anything or who may know the people involved to please come forward and tell us what you know.
“I stress, we are dealing with the murder of three children here, any information, no matter how small, is very important to the family and the investigation.
“This is a fast moving live investigation and we have a Major Investigation Team with scores of dedicated detectives working tirelessly.
“I want to describe what this incident is; it’s the murder, using fire, of three children and we have a three-year-old girl fighting for her life who is seriously ill. This will devastate this family forever and words cannot describe what they are going through. We need the public’s help to find the answers the family deserve.
“We want to make arrests as soon as possible and we appeal to local people to help us in this.”
Officers have confirmed there had been “earlier incidents” at the address and that a referral to the IPCC has been made.
Crews were called to the property in Jackson Street, just before 5am on Monday. Two 16-year-old boys were able to escape the property before fire crews arrived and were described as “walking wounded.”
Residents and commuters are being advised to avoid the area due to road closures. A large police presence remained at the scene on Monday afternoon, with one end of Jackson Street blocked by large steel barriers.
Greater Manchester Fire Rescue Service Area Manager Damian O’Rourke said: “Our first thoughts are with the family and friends of those involved. Incidents as tragic as this are thankfully rare but these are really heart-breaking circumstances and the crew involved will be receiving personal support from our internal health and wellbeing team.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 0161 856 8797 alternatively call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.