A murder investigation is under way after a woman and two men were found dead following a house fire on New Year’s Day.
Shocked neighbours also described the “ferocity” of the blaze as police released the first details of the victims.
The fire in Peartree Road, Kirton, Lincolnshire, spread “from one side of the upstairs to the other” in just minutes, according to parish council chairman David Danby, who lives nearby.
Emergency services were called to a fire at the detached property just before 3am.
Initially it was thought one person had died, but Lincolnshire Police said on Wednesday that three people had now been found dead within the home.
Launching a domestic-related murder inquiry, officers said they believed they knew the identities of the deceased and were not seeking anyone else in connection with the deadly blaze.
Giving more details, the force confirmed the dead were a woman, aged 27, a male, aged 24, and a 32-year-old man.
All the victims were British, the police added.
Two other people who were taken to hospital following the fire, had since been discharged.
Following the house fire in Kirton in the early hours of 1st January 2019 Police and Fire Investigators are continuing to examine the scene. Sadly we are now able to confirm that three people have been found dead within the property. Call 101. https://t.co/sgH5rn71Qtpic.twitter.com/yh0f77W2yv
— Lincolnshire Police (@lincspolice) January 2, 2019
At the home on Wednesday afternoon, scenes of crime officers and fire investigators could be seen sifting through the wreckage, in what is usually a quiet residential close.
The only part of the roof remaining were two brick gable ends, while every window on the upper floor had been shattered and part of the first floor wall had collapsed completely.
A blue tarpaulin sheet could also be seen covering the ground floor bay window, and a charred roof timber had fallen down onto the tiled porch roof, while the brick driveway was strewn with masonry and glass.
Mr Danby, who lives in Franks Close about 150 yards from the scene, said he was woken up by his barking dog, in the early hours.
He said: “We’d seen in the new year, and then gone to bed.
“Then at about 3am, the dog kicked off a bit and my partner thought he just wanted to go out to the toilet.
“When we got downstairs, you could see the reflections of the light, from the fire.
“We went outside, and I could then see it was the house at the bottom of the close.”
Neighbours dialled 999, as the fire spread through the home, Mr Danby said.
He added: “It was the ferocity of it.
“We just could not believe how quickly it had got from one side of the upstairs to the other.
“I used to manage a caravan park, and I’ve seen caravans go up in flames and it was just like one of those, very quick.
“It was like a tinderbox.
“Weather-wise, the day had been very quiet, but just at that time it seemed the wind blew up as well, which won’t have helped.”
Mr Danby praised the emergency services, adding the fire brigade had been at the scene “within minutes”.
Update on Kirton Fire – investigators say it will take a number of days to establish how the fire started. Anyone with dashcam footage in or near Peartree Road before 0300 this morning or any information is asked to contact 101 https://t.co/Y1WTrgEFQI
— Lincolnshire Police (@lincspolice) January 1, 2019
“We saw two of the firefighters go in the right-hand bedroom window, and go out again,” he added.
He said: “It was the speed in which it happened, and you could see the fire inside.
“All of a sudden the roof went up, and the whole top floor.”
Mr Danby, who serves on Kirton parish council, also praised the community’s response, organising collections of clothing online, and offered his sympathies to those affected.
He added: “There was no trouble, then all of a sudden, between 3-4am, at the end of the close, the whole world has been turned upside down.
“The community has rallied around.
“Everyone’s thoughts and sympathies are with those affected.”
A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “It will take some time to formally identify them but at this time we believe we know who they are and their families have been notified and family liaison officers are in contact with them.
“We can confirm that we are treating this as a domestic-related murder investigation, but we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this.”
The investigation is being led by officers from the regional East Midlands Specialist Operations Unit, alongside local police.
Superintendent Di Coulson, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “This is a tragic crime and our thoughts are with the family and friends of those involved.
“We are in contact with the families and will ensure that this is a thorough investigation as we try and understand what happened.”
The police have appealed for anyone with information about the occupants of the address, to get in touch.
Officers also want to hear from drivers who may have been in or near Peartree Road, from 3pm Near Year’s Eve up 3am on New Year’s Day morning, and who may have dashcam footage, or saw anything, to make contact on 101.