Six people have been arrested after three children were killed in a house fire in Greater Manchester in the early hours of Monday morning.
Four men, aged 20, 23, 25 and 18, and a 20-year-old woman have been arrested on suspicion of murder but police say three of these individuals have since been released on bail.
A 24-year-old man is also being questioned in custody on suspicion of assisting an offender, Greater Manchester Police said.
At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon police described the fire as a “targeted attack”.
Police were called to the mid-terraced house in Jackson Street shortly before 5am on Monday to reports of a fire.
Demi Pearson, 14, was pronounced dead at the scene in Worsley, Greater Manchester, while her eight-year-old brother Brandon and seven-year-old sister Lacie later died in hospital.
The children’s 35-year-old mother, Michelle Pearson, is in a serious condition in hospital while a fourth sibling, three-year-old Lia, is critically ill.
Two 16-year-old boys who were also in the house freed themselves before fire crews arrived and put out the blaze.
Police confirmed there had been “earlier incidents” at the address and said the force had made a self-referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Chief Superintendent Wayne Miller, of Greater Manchester Police, said: “In what is such a heart-breaking set of circumstances, we have been doing our very best to support the family in every way that we can and carry out our inquiries quickly and sensitively.
“We are still appealing for people who witnessed the fire itself or the events leading up to it to get in contact with us and tell us what they know.
“My thanks goes to the members of the public who have supported us with our investigation.”