Page last updated at 15:33 GMT, Sunday, 29 March 2009 16:33 UK

Three family members die in fire

Tributes at the scene of the fire
The two adults and two children were found upstairs in the house

Two adults and a three-year-old boy from the same family have been killed in a house fire in South Yorkshire.

A five-year-old girl is said to be critically ill, after the fire in the Highfield area of Doncaster on Sunday.

Investigators are trying to establish the cause of the blaze and have appealed for witnesses, but there is no suggestion it was started deliberately.

A woman who died in the fire was said by neighbours to have been heavily pregnant.

The fire had taken hold in the ground floor of the terraced home.

Firefighters were called to the house by a neighbour and found all four people - a man, a woman and two young children - upstairs in the mid-terraced house.

They were taken to hospital, where the two adults and one of the children were pronounced dead.

People are really trying to come to terms with the fact that there wasn't anything they could do to help
Rev Stephen Gardner

Neighbour Sally Johns said the deaths had shocked the whole community.

Ms Johns said: "It's absolutely horrendous.

"I've tested my own smoke alarms as I'm a mother of five children. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

"Just the worry that something like that could happen so close, it's quite scary, it's not good."

The vicar at the nearby All Saints Church, Rev Stephen Gardner, said that neighbours who tried to help are in shock.

"I've spoken to some, tried to comfort some, who were trying to get involved," he said.

"But by the time people were alerted to the situation, I think things were just beyond their ability to do anything about.

"People are really trying to come to terms with the fact that there wasn't anything they could do to help.

"By the time they learnt about it, it seems things were beyond that."

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said: "The ground floor was well alight on their arrival but firefighters wearing breathing apparatus managed to locate the four casualties - a man, woman and two young children - in the upstairs of the property.

"The two adults and one of the children were sadly pronounced dead in hospital a short time later," he said.

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Phil Shillito from South Yorkshire Fire Service describes how neighbours tried to help the family



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