Exeter fatal house fire: Tributes paid to family

image captionPolice said no-one else was being sought in connection with the fire

Tributes are paid to three people, including a four-year-old girl, who died in a house fire, while three other children remain in hospital.

The "tragic news" of the fatal blaze in Exeter would "impact the whole of the city", Exeter City Council said.

The girl, a 29-year-old man and a woman, aged 28, died in the fire in Clayton Road on Sunday.

Three others children who were in the house are in a stable condition in hospital, police said.

image captionPolice remain at the scene of the fire in Clayton Road, Exeter

The couple and the children were "all related" but the force said no further details were available.

The children who survived were two boys aged four and nine and a seven-year-old girl.

Duncan Sleightholme, BBC reporter at the scene

This is a community deeply saddened by the deaths of three young people in the heart of this city. The house on Clayton Road is just a couple of streets from Exeter's main railway station.

Today, the house is shrouded in blue tarpaulin and the black scars of the smoke and fire that led to three people losing their lives. Bunches of flowers are being placed at the end of this terraced street.

Inside the house, people in white overalls continue to comb through the damaged home, looking for clues as to how this tragedy unfolded. A large silver lorry marked Major Incident Unit sits outside.

The investigation is expected to take a couple of days, but police say they don't believe there is any third-party involvement.

Across the city, flags have been lowered to half-mast at the Cathedral and Exeter City Council offices. A sign of the sense of sadness being felt by many people here. Councillors will observe a minute's silence when they meet on Tuesday.

Back at the house, people stop, look and lower their heads as they walk by. Drivers heading along Bonhay Road glance across as they see the police cars and tape.

Many hundreds each day will have driven by and paid no attention to this property. Now it's the centre of a major investigation. Many questions still to be answered.

Phil Bialyk, leader of Exeter City Council, said on the council's Twitter account: "This is tragic news that will impact the whole of the city. Our hearts go out to the family.

"We will of course do anything we can to support the community."

image captionTributes have been paid to those who died in the fire

Alison Hernandez, police and crime commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, said on Twitter the incident was "really heartbreaking".

"Not something any commander wants to have to head up. Seriously sad and thanks to all involved who helped and will be helping at the scene. I'll be praying for the children in hospital tonight," she added.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said: "Our heartfelt thoughts are with the family and everyone involved in responding to this tragic incident."

Middlemoor fire station said it was "deeply saddened" by Sunday's fire, which firefighters attended with crews from Danes Castle, Clyst St George and Crediton.

"We would like to send our deepest condolences to the family involved, their friends, local community and everyone affected. We are absolutely devastated for you all."

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