The four kids who were killed when a fire tore through their family home as they dozed in the early morning times of at the beginning of today have been imagined out of the blue.
The fire desolated the house in Stafford in the early hours of at the beginning of today, killing three young men and a young lady, named locally as Riley, 8, Keegan, 6, and Olly, 3, and four-year-old young lady Tilly.
Natalie Unitt, 24, and her partner Chris Moulton, 28, and their two-year-old son, Jack, were saved and taken to hospital, where they are expected to recover from the smoke inhalation and burns they suffered.
Tearful neighbours and family are mourning the kids who have been described as ‘cute as buttons’. Mourners have laid teddy bears and flowers near the scene of the devastating fire this morning. Some of the tributes are believed to be from family.
A hand-written note attached to a cuddly toy read:
RIP Babes xx life is so so cruel. All our thoughts are with the family at this very sad time.
One note read:
Will be dearly missed, love Uncle Dave and Auntie Lou Lou.
To my lovely grandkids I will always miss you. Love you always xxx
Natalie Unitt’s former school friend, Sophie Flood, said the children were ‘her world’ and she didn’t know how Natalie would cope without them
Ms Flood, 26, told MailOnline:
Natalie was bullied at school. All she ever wanted in life was to be a mum and she lived for those kids. They were her whole world. Now she’s lost four of her babies she’ll be totally devastated. I don’t know how she’ll cope without them.
Chief Inspector John Owen, of Staffordshire Police, described the incident at 2.40am on Tuesday as ‘absolutely heartbreaking’.
A nearby resident described how a sheet of flames engulfed an upstairs window at the semi-detached property on Sycamore Lane in the Highfields area of Stafford.
The witness said:
We heard a bang and looked out of the back window upstairs. At the start it was just a sheet of fire coming out of the bedroom window. It seemed to take ages for the fire brigade to arrive – it seemed like forever.
The neighbours came out and drove their car out of the back garden and there were lots of fire engines and police.
Neighbour Bryan Pickering, who lives around 40 yards from the scene of the fire, was among those who contacted the emergency services after spotting the blaze.
We were straight on to 999. The flames were coming out that bad, there was nothing you could have done – even with a ladder.
Another resident, who was also reluctant to give her name, said she had not realised that anyone had died in the blaze until she heard a news broadcast confirming that four children had died.
The woman said:
The room at the back was completely full of flames.
We just stood there with our hands over our mouths wondering what was going to happen next.
A man and a woman got into an ambulance. They were in blankets and she had the little one in her arms. ‘I’d assumed they had all got out. It’s terribly sad, almost beyond belief.
Fire crews remain at the scene combing for clues as to what triggered the blaze.