Spark caused killer blaze

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A SPARK or ember from an open fire caused the horrific blaze that killed four children at a house in Hulland Ward, say fire investigators.

After almost three days of painstaking investigations, fire chiefs say that is the likely cause of the blaze that claimed the lives of Tommy Henson, nine, Alisha Henson-Nulty, six, Rocco Henson-Nulty, four, and Appolonia Henson, two.

The detailed investigation also found no evidence to suggest that there were working smoke alarms in the property on Highfield Road.

Fire officer Gavin Tomlinson said: “We believe this tragedy was the result of a spark or ember falling from an open fireplace in the lounge.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family at this time.

“This incident demonstrates how easily a fire in the home can devastate lives.”

The investigation had earlier revealed that the fire started in the lounge on the ground floor.

Firefighters and ambulance crews were called out to the house at 11:30pm on Monday, January 24.

The children’s mum, Rachel Henson, 45, escaped from the rear of the house and was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

She has been discharged and is being cared for by family and friends. She is also being supported by a police family liaison officer.

The 45-year-old hairdresser revealed her grief as she released an official photograph of her children.

The snap shows how close the youngsters were as they snuggle up on a sofa.

Chf Supt Peter Lewis, of Derbyshire Police, said: “I do not think words could describe what a parent like Rachel has gone through and what she is feeling.

“I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the community of Hulland Ward for their support.

“The rest of Hulland Ward are united in their grief.”

The small village of Hulland Ward is in shock following the tragedy.

One of the children, Alisha, was a year two pupil at St Oswald’s School in Ashbourne. Everyone at the school has been hit hard.

A spokeswoman for the school said: “The whole school is devastated. We are devastated.

“The children are coping quite well and all the staff are trained in this sort of thing, but it is obviously a very personal issue for us.”