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House fire tragedy siblings named
Five children who died in a house fire despite "valiant attempts" by their father to rescue them have been named.
Ten-year-old Jade Philpott was asleep upstairs along with John, nine, Jack, seven, Jessie, six, and five-year-old Jayden at their home in Allenton, Derby, when the fire broke out. Their 13-year-old brother, Duwayne, remains in a critical condition in hospital in Birmingham.
The children's father has been named as Mick Philpott, who was dubbed "Shameless Mick" in 2007 for his benefit claims and refusal to get a job in a documentary by former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe.
Mr Philpott, said to be the father of 17 children, hit the headlines after demanding a larger house to share with his wife, girlfriend and eight offspring.
A 28-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of murder remains in police custody and will be questioned later, Derbyshire Police said. Post-mortem examinations will be carried out over the weekend and forensic specialists are examining the house.
Ms Widdecombe, who spent a week living with the then 57-year-old Philpott for the programme Ann Widdecombe Versus The Benefit Culture, said following the tragedy: "Nobody would ever call him a bad father. I'm so sorry to hear the news and my thoughts are with the family."
Mr Philpott is reported to have demanded the bigger property because his council house was too cramped to accommodate the family. He wanted the city council to rehouse them, but the authority said they already had the biggest available council property in the city.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill, from Derbyshire Police, said: "There appears to have been valiant attempts by the father to rescue his children."
Mr Cotterill, who said police were keeping an open mind about the cause of the fire, said: "It is a matter of a police inquiry, where we have had to act very quickly to preserve any evidence which may feature later in the inquiry." It was "potentially" a murder inquiry, he added, and the woman being questioned by police was not arrested at the scene.
Friends of the family left flowers at the scene. Daniel Walsh, who said he had been a friend of Mr Philpott for many years, called the fire "shocking", adding: "It's absolutely tragic. Any parent's worst nightmare."