Post-mortem examinations to be carried out on blaze death children

Updated: 

Post-mortem examinations will be carried out today on the bodies of two siblings who died after a suspected arson attack on their home.

Their father, a man in his 40s, remains in a critical condition in hospital after he was discovered in a burnt-out car at around 7.15am on Friday, just hours after the house fire.

The children, an eight-year-old boy and his six-year-old sister, were pulled from their burning house in Hamstead, Birmingham, at around 3.40am by neighbours who tried to give first aid. They were said to have been "lifeless on the lawn" when emergency services arrived.

Their father was discovered in a Vauxhall Insignia around 35 miles away.

West Midlands Police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.

Neighbours spoke of their sadness, saying the brother and sister had often been seen playing happily in and around the home in Holland Road.

Zainab Harun, who lives nearby, said she would see the children riding their bikes and coming home from school.

She said: "I used to talk to them whenever they walked past. It's a sad, terrible thing that has happened here.

"I have two children and I keep playing it over and over again in my head."

A woman at the scene, who did not want to be identified, said she was a care worker colleague of the children's mother, aged 36.

She told the Press Association: "It's just so wicked what's happened - we're just trying to deal with it.

"She was supposed to come to work this morning so we tried calling her but there was no answer."

West Midlands Ambulance Service said its units rushed to the scene and found "two children, a boy and a girl, who were in cardiac arrest".

A spokesman added: "Bystanders had already started CPR, which crews took over before also administering advanced life support.

"Treatment continued en route to hospital, with the boy being taken to Sandwell Hospital and the girl to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

"Unfortunately, shortly after their arrival at the hospitals, it became clear that nothing could be done to save either child and they were confirmed deceased."