Northern Ireland

Derrylin: Man held on suspicion of murder over fire deaths

Fire Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Two fire engines from Lisnaskea and one from Enniskillen helped put out the fire

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after three people died in a house fire in Derrylin, County Fermanagh.

The 27-year-old man was brought to hospital for treatment prior to his arrest.

The victims are believed to have been members of the same family and it's understood that at least one of those who died was a child.

Police officers were called to the house on Molly Road at about 07:20 GMT.

Police believe the fire was started deliberately, said Supt Jane Humphries.

She appealed for anyone travelling through Derrylin between midnight and 07:20 on Tuesday to get in touch.

Earlier, police said the emergency services were carrying out an "extensive examination" of the whitewashed rural bungalow to establish the cause of the blaze and determine if anyone else was involved.

At the scene: BBC News NI's Louise Cullen

The roof of the house has caved in and smoke is still rising from the property. The emergency services are at the scene as investigations continue to establish the cause of the fire.

I understand the family who rented the property have only been in the area for the past 12 to 18 months.

Firefighters said they were called to a "well-developed fire in a detached bungalow" near the border with the Irish Republic before 07:15 on Tuesday.

Two fire engines from Lisnaskea and one from Enniskillen attended the incident. The fire has now been put out.

It's thought that the people who lived in the house were originally from England.

Image copyright Mal McCann
Image caption Firefighters at the scene of the blaze

Fermanagh Sinn Féin councillor Barry Doherty said it's understood those who died were generations of the one family.

Mr Doherty said a neighbour raised the alarm and had tried to break down the door with a sledgehammer.

Pictures of the scene show the roof of the house had been destroyed by the blaze, leaving a shell of the bungalow, which is surrounded by farm buildings and machinery.

Fire engines and police cars have been coming and going from the scene for most of the day.

Michelle Gildernew, Sinn Féin MP for the area, said the neighbours who made rescue attempts had undergone a horrendous ordeal.

"They are badly shaken. They weren't able to get into the house," she said.

"As somebody who goes to a house in good faith to try and help people and people die, that is horrendous. It's hard to take."

Asked about their efforts, she said she understood they tried to use a sledgehammer "and tried to break a window to gain access but weren't able to do that."

Mrs Gildernew added: I just feel that there are people who are going to need support after this tragedy in how they deal with it."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The road leading to the scene of the blaze has been closed to traffic

Democratic Unionist leader Arlene Foster, the MLA for Fermanagh South Tyrone, said: "Horrific news coming from Derrylin, County Fermanagh, this morning.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the family and local community."

Ulster Unionist MLA Rosemary Barton said: "This is a close-knit community and there will be a huge sense of loss felt within the community, but particularly to the family concerned.

"I'm sure the community will rally round to assist the bereaved."