Three Children Die in Arson Attack in Manchester

December 12, 2017 Updated: December 12, 2017

Three children have died in a fire after an arsonist allegedly poured petrol down the chimney and into the letterbox to set fire to their house.

Police on Monday said that five people had been arrested in connection with the fire near the city of Manchester in northern England.

Local newspaper the Manchester Evening News (MEN) claims that traces of petrol have been found in at least three locations—the chimney, a ground-floor window, and the front door.

According to MEN the alleged killer may have scaled nearby scaffolding to reach the chimney at the house in Walkden, Salford.

The fire appears to be the latest in a series of attacks on the family with police having been called out just three hours before the blaze took hold, with reports of ongoing threats and an attempted arson attack two weeks prior.

The fire took hold at the house on Jackson Street in the early hours of Monday, Dec. 11. Firefighters arrived within minutes of receiving the emergency call at 5:00 a.m., but were only able to save two of the five people in building, according to Greater Manchester Fire Service.

The fire service Area Manager Damian O’Rourke said in a statement: “Knowing there were people trapped inside, firefighters wearing breathing apparatus immediately went in and quickly rescued five people from the house but sadly three of those people died.

“Two boys had managed to escape the house before firefighters arrived”

The mother of the 6 children, Michelle Pearson, and her three-year-old daughter are in serious condition in hospital.

Police confirmed that an 8-year-old boy and two girls, aged 7 and 14, had died in the blaze.

According to the Daily Mail, the arson attack comes after intensifying hostilities in the area, which saw a wheelie bin set on fire and a dog beaten with a hammer.

“They’ve all been at each other for ages now,” a local person said, according to the Mail. “I don’t know what started it, but it’s just got worse and worse’.

The police are widely reported to have confirmed that there were “earlier incidents” at the address but have not given further details.

MEN said that sources said the house had been ‘target hardened’ to protect the family living there from attack, including the fitting of a security device on the letterbox.

People who know the family told the Sun how an argument last month had also left Pearson terrified.

“She was involved in a row with a bloke and his girlfriend,” Janette Dean, 54, told the Sun. “He smashed up Pearson’s house with a hammer last week after an argument.”

Kyle Pearson, one of the two sons to escape the burning property, described his escape to MEN.

“I fell asleep and the next thing I knew was I could hear my mum screaming, ‘Fire!’ There was lots of smoke so I climbed out of an upstairs window.

“I’ve gone to get back in but a cloud of smoke hit me in the face.

“I tried to break the front door down and smashed a window, but I couldn’t get in because of the flames and the smoke.”

Please consider sharing this story with your friends on social media.

Follow Simon on Twitter: @spveazey