COPS have confirmed the house fire in Stafford last week that killed four children was not caused by a cannabis farm or an exploding boiler, despite online rumours.
Riley Holt, eight, Keegan Unitt, six, Tilly Rose Unitt, four, and Olly Unitt, three, tragically died in the huge blaze last Tuesday.
Enterprise News and Pictures18 Natalie Unitt and Chris Moulton have been released on bail as enquiries continue into the blaze that killed four of their children
Facebook18 Four children died in a house fire in Stafford
Facebook18 Partner Chris Moulton and Natalie survived the blaze
Social media users had begun to speculate the cause of the fire despite pleas from the authorities and rumours spread that mum and dad of the four kids Natalie Unitt, 24, and Chris Moulton, 28, were growing cannabis in the house.
Others speculated that a boiler explosion could have been the cause of the blaze, but Staffordshire Police say they have now ruled out both of these possibilities.
Detective Inspector Alan Lyford, of Staffordshire Police, said: “This is a complex ongoing investigation and, while we appreciate there is a demand for answers, our primary aim is to understand exactly what happened in this tragic fire.”
DI Lyford said that, following preliminary findings from fire investigators, he had taken the decision to rule out several rumours which had spread locally.
He said: "We do not believe that a boiler defect was responsible and we can confirm there is no truth in rumours that cannabis was being grown at the property and may have been a cause.
"We’d again like to thank people for their patience, but kindly ask that people do not speculate as such comments can be misleading to an investigation as well as causing upset."
PARENTS RELEASED ON BAIL
Earlier this week Natalie and Chris were released on bail after they were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence after the devastating fire ripped through their home on Tuesday.
The couple's release comes after family members told The Sun Online the pair had "done nothing wrong". Riley, eight, Keegan, six, Tilly Rose, four, and three-year-old Olly all died in the blaze.
Natalie escaped by jumping out of a bedroom window with Chris, who was clutching their two-year-old son Jack. Eldest child Riley is from Natalie's earlier relationship with his dad Matt Holt.
Staffordshire Police have said the pair have been bailed while enquiries into the devastating fire continue.
A police spokesperson said: "We understand this incident has had a huge impact on the community in Highfields and beyond and we appreciate there will continue to be demand for information.
"We urge people not to speculate as to what may have happened. We are grateful for the community’s ongoing support and patience as the investigation continues."
'THEY ARE GRIEVING FOR THE KIDS THEY'VE LOST'
Relatives of the couple slammed cops over the arrest on Friday as they said the parents were "grieving" for their four tragic children.
One, who declined to be named, said: "They’re grieving for the kids they’ve lost, they’re just out of hospital and now banged up in a cell. We don’t understand why.
"Their baby got pulled out alive and now he’s traumatised. His three brothers and sister have gone and he just wants to be comforted by his mum and dad.
"We’re doing our best to look after the poor little soul. It’s just awful."
Earlier today, workmen were seen starting to board up the home where the four children died on Tuesday morning.
Natalie had screamed "my babies, my babies" as the inferno tore through the two-storey home in the early hours of Tuesday.
The mum, who describes herself as a "proud mummy" on social media, was treated for smoke inhalation while partner Chris had minor burns.
Toddler Jack was unhurt but had to be monitored.
The cause of the fire is currently being investigated but witnesses said at the time they believed it may have been caused by a boiler.
Horrified neighbours have described how they heard the children screaming as the flames spread through the two-storey home.
Wendy Pickering said: "I went into the bathroom and I heard children screaming and I said to [my husband] to phone 999.
"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.
"It was really high, it was so intense – there was so much smoke.
"We heard two bangs but we don't know what might have caused it."
Brave firefighters battled to reach those trapped inside but were beaten back by flames as the inferno took hold of the two storey home.
'SHEET OF FIRE'
Witnesses also said a large blue and green flame could be seen through the roof of the property suggesting a gas fire.
Another described how they saw a "sheet of fire" engulf the upstairs window as flames erupted.
Dramatic pictures show flames shooting from the second storey of the home leaving the roof gutted.
An ambulance worker has penned a poignant note speaking of her sorrow at not being able to save the four children.
Lamara Shelley, a call dispatcher with West Midlands Ambulance Service, told of her regret at not being able to save the "beautiful angels" who perished in the blaze. She left the moving note with a floral tribute at the scene.
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Lamara wrote: "RIP you beautiful angels. I don't know you personally but I was involved in the incident.
"I work in the ambulance service and was involved in getting the correct resources to try and help save you.
“I am so gutted we couldn't save you all. Hope your family can remain strong and you will remain in everyone's hearts forever!"
Caters News Agency18 Workmen have started to board up the home where the four children died
Caters News Agency18 Doors and windows were boarded up at the property
Caters News Agency18 The devastating fire ripped through the property int he early hours of Tuesday morning
Facebook18 Four of Natalie Unitt's children have tragically died in a fire
Facebook18 They were aged between three and eight
Refer to Caption18 The youngsters were declared dead at the scene
Neighbours hold candlelit vigil for four children who died in house fire in Stafford
PA:Press Association18 A picture shows the top of the house charred by the flames
Facebook18 Natalie was treated for smoke inhalation
Facebook18 The pair are being quizzed in custody
Reuters18 The dad is said to have jumped from the top floor with a baby
PA:Press Association18 The flames batted firefighters away
PA:Press Association18 Tributes have been left to the four children
PA:Press Association18 The children were all aged eight and under
SWNS:South West News Service18 Horrified neighbours said they could hear the children screaming
SWNS:South West News Service18 The fire started on the second floor of the property
Four kids killed in house fire in Stafford as parents and another child injured in hospital