1. ITV Report

Philpott fire: The facts about how the blaze started

Police outside the house Photo: ITV News Central

The fire started in the hallway. Forensic tests showed petrol had been used to start the blaze. When the petrol vapour ignited, the fire spread quickly as the flames were drawn upstairs in a 'chimney effect' due to an open window on the landing.

Fire damage on the upstairs landing of the Philpott home Credit: Derbyshire Police

Dense smoke built up on the landing ceiling. The doors to the childrens' bedrooms were slightly ajar which allowed smoke inside. Smoke alarms were activated but failed to wake the children as they slept.

The ferocity of the fire led to the double glazing melting and windows coming from their frames Credit: Derbyshire Police

Downstairs polystyrene ceiling tiles in the lounge caught fire. Poisonous smoke from these and burning carpets headed up the stairs.

As firefighters entered the house they were confronted with black smoke so thick they had to feel their way around. One fireman said they had to locate the youngsters by touch and not sight.

The fire started at the foot of the stairs with poisonous gas rising up to the first floor Credit: Derbyshire Police

One by one the six children were carried unconscious from the house. Firemen and police tried to revive them as they lay on the pavement in the street, but it was too late.

Investigators later confirmed the blaze was started deliberately. A specially trained sniffer dog discovered traces of petrol at the foot of the stairs.

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