Parents arrested for manslaughter after fiery house fire kills four young children: Police

The parents of five young Staffordshire children were arrested Friday after four of the kids died in a home fire on Tuesday, reportedly caused by a gas explosion.

The Guardian reports Natalie Unitt, 24, and Chris Moulton, 28, jumped from a window in their two-story home off of Sycamore Lane in Staffordshire, England, while holding their youngest son, 2-year-old Jack. The couple’s four other children, Riley, 8; Keegan, 6; Tilly, 4; and Olly, 3, were trapped inside the home. They subsequently passed away when emergency crews couldn’t reach them in time.

Moulton and Unitt were arrested at around 1:30 p.m. on Friday and charged with suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence. Witnesses said a faulty gas boiler may have caused the fire, but police have yet to confirm.

Authorities said officials are still at the scene as Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service continue to investigate. Autopsies have been scheduled for the children.

“Following an update from investigators into the probable cause of the fire we have arrested a 24-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence,” a spokesperson for the Staffordshire police said. “However, we would urge people not to speculate as to what may have happened and appeal for patience as the investigation continues.”

Neighbors indicated they heard Unitt screaming for her babies as the fire engulfed the home.

“I went into the bathroom and I heard children screaming and I said to [my husband] to phone 999,” neighbor Wendy Pickering said, according to The Sun. “They got here ever so quick. We could see the flames from the kitchen window and there lapping at the roof. There were no windows in the parents bedroom – the glass had gone as well as the guttering.

The Scotsman reports that teachers at Castlechurch Primary School, where the children attended school, described the victims as “bright, happy, loving and lively.”

The story is still developing. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

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