Four people die in house fire in Wood Hill, Leicester
Four people have been killed in a house fire in Leicester.
Police and firefighters were called to Wood Hill, in the Spinney Hill area of the city, at about 00:35 BST.
Neighbours said a woman and three children lived at the property, which was extensively damaged by the fire.
Police said officers were "unable to rule out" the possibility the fire was linked to the murder of a man in the city centre on Thursday.
The four people were already dead when they were found in an upstairs bedrooms.
Police said they could not confirm the ages or gender of the people killed.
Neighbour Soheb Ali, 22, who could see the back of the house from his own, said people were throwing bricks and stones at the windows, trying to let the smoke out and find out if anyone was inside.
"I heard people screaming and my mum could hear popping sounds, a bit like fireworks going off, and my dad could smell burning plastic," he said.'Good family'
"We came outside. The whole staircase [of the house] was in flames. If you were upstairs you would have no chance of getting out."
He added: "There were loads of people trying to help. My first thought was 'Could anyone get out?'
"They were a really good family. They were religious; went to the mosque.
"When you see a fire like that you just freeze. You don't know what to do. It's terrifying."
One woman said her brother had been socialising with one of the boys who lived at the address until about 23:30 on Thursday.
"When my brother saw the smoke coming from the house he shouted to my uncle and they all went outside and shouted their names to the house [to warn them there was a fire]," she said.
"They were really good people. They are so innocent. They don't know anybody here. They had only just come from Ireland."
At the scene
I've just spoken to a man who lives next door to the scene of the fire and he is very upset.
The flames, he said, were so fierce they were licking the door of his car.
It's a row of terraced houses with bay front windows and I can see the top of the bay windows is completely blackened and melted.
There's no glass in it. All I can see is the blackened insides of what would have been a bedroom.
A police spokesperson said: "The circumstances and cause of the fire are currently under investigation and officers would ask anyone who has any information regarding the incident to please contact them."'Stabbing'
A murder investigation was launched on Thursday after a man in his 20s was assaulted in Kent Street at about 17:30 and later died in hospital.
Police said officers found "a large number of people in the street" when they were called to the scene of the attack. They are keen to speak to anyone who witnessed the assault or saw any suspicious activity.
Leicester mayor Peter Soulsby said he had been briefed about the murder in Kent Street and described it as "a stabbing".
He said: "It's all the more surprising because both the stabbing and indeed the fire are actually quite unusual in Leicester."
End Quote Kamlesh Purohit BBC Radio Leicester
Just in front of the car was a man lying on the floor”
Police said a post-mortem examination was due to take place to find out the cause of the man's death.
BBC Radio Leicester's Kamlesh Purohit was in the area shortly after the assault, and saw a man lying on the floor.
"The police were already there," he said.
"What I saw right next to my car was a car parked in the middle of the street and just in front of the car was a man lying on the floor.
"He appeared to be of West Indian origin and at that stage I thought perhaps there had been a car accident."
Councillor Abdul Osman said: "This is a young family that died in the fire. It's very regrettable."
Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, a Leicester imam, said:"They were regular worshippers at the Jame Mosque in Asfordby Street.
"Imams across Leicester will be offering a special prayer for this family during today's Friday prayers."