Fire kills twins and brothers at Lancashire bungalow

Holly and Ella Smith
Image caption Twins Holly and Ella Smith were in the bungalow with their brothers

Three young children and their teenage brother have been killed by a fire at a bungalow in Lancashire.

The blaze broke out in Lytham Road, Freckleton, at about 23:20 GMT on Saturday.

Reece Smith, 19, four-year-old twins Holly and Ella Smith and two-year-old Jordan Smith were taken to hospital but all later died.

Their mother, believed to be 36-year-old Michelle Smith, was led away from the scene unhurt.

The four siblings were pulled unconscious from the bungalow by firefighters and emergency services tried to resuscitate them at the scene.

Lancashire Constabulary said detectives were keeping an open mind as to what might have caused the fire.

They are now carrying out a joint investigation with the fire service.

Image caption Reece, 19, and Jordan, two, were rescued from the bungalow but later died

Mrs Smith's father, Keith Smith, 56, said it had been his daughter's birthday on Saturday.

He said she had a total of nine children.

"It's very shocking, these are such tragic circumstances," he said.

"I don't know anything about what happened last night. They have lived here for about two-and-a-half years - this was their grandmother's former home."

Mr Smith added: "I last saw them all just after Christmas.

"I can't think of any reason why this has happened. It has just come as a big shock."

Det Andy Murphy, of Lancashire Constabulary, said officers were still trying to establish what had caused the fire.

He would not comment on whether a party was held at the address on Saturday night, however, he said other people had been in the bungalow at the time.

Image caption The scene has been cordoned off by police

"We need to determine how many people were there and determine what happened," he said.

Mr Murphy added: "This is an absolutely tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family at this very sad time."

The fire affected bedrooms of the bungalow in the village, which is several miles west of Preston.

From the outside there was no apparent damage caused by the blaze, but the scene has been cordoned off.

Friends and family have started leaving floral tributes near the bungalow.

Phil Cox, group manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said as crews were en route they had received calls saying people were trapped inside the property, including a number of small children.

"As soon as the crews arrived it seemed quite a chaotic scene with a lot of people outside quite distressed," he said.

"We sent in six firefighters who rescued four people and also led out one other person.

"We had police officers, fire officers and paramedics at the scene working on resuscitating the people brought out before they were taken to hospital.

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Media captionFamily friend Carolyn Milburn described the siblings as beautiful, from a "close, lovely family"

"We would like to pass on our condolences to the family.

"There was a reasonable amount of smoke at the time, we were faced with quite a heavy smoke-logged building."

Family friend Carolyn Milburn said Reece was the eldest child and Jordan the youngest of Michelle Smith.

She said: "It's knocked us all for six.

"They were all lovely, all of them.

"Lovely kids, well behaved, well brought-up, always happy.

"Michelle is a good mum. She loves her kids.

"I haven't spoken to her yet but her and her mother Christine are both in a state."

She added: "She is in bits over this. The twins were beautiful, gorgeous kids. They were all smashing kids."

One of the floral tributes left outside the bungalow read: "To the family and loved ones of Reece, Holly, Ella and Jordan, we are sorry to hear about the heartbreaking and tragic loss of four young lives.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Love from a Freckleton family xxx."

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