Four children aged between three and eight who died in a house fire in Staffordshire have been named by police.

The three boys and one girl have been identified as Olly Unitt, three, Keegan Unitt, six, Riley Holt, eight and four-year-old Tilly Unitt.

Their mother Natalie Unitt, 24, and Chris Moulton, 28, are being treated in hospital along with a fifth child.

They each suffered non life-threatening injuries in the fire.

A man was reportedly seen jumping from a window of the house while clutching a baby.

Police and fire crews were called out to the fire in the Highfields area of Stafford at 2.40am on Tuesday.

Chris Moulton, 26 and Natalie Unitt, 24
Image: Chris Moulton, 28, and Natalie Unitt, 24, are in hospital with non life-threatening injuries
The fire tore through the roof of the house in the Highfields area of the town
Image: The fire tore through the roof of the house in the Highfields area of the town

Photos from the scene show part of the roof of the house has collapsed, windows have smashed and the inside has been blackened by smoke.

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Chief Inspector John Owen of Staffordshire Police described the incident as “absolutely heartbreaking”.

A friend of the children’s mother said she believed the family had lived at the house for around six months, having moved there from another part of Stafford.

(L to R) Chief Inspector Gemma Ward, Nathan Hudson, assistant chief officer for West Midlands Ambulance Service and Rob Barber, deputy chief fire officer for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image: Members of the emergency services are still at the scene
House fire in Stafford
Image: Emergency services were called to the fire at around 2:40am on Tuesday

A neighbour has told how they saw flames engulf an upstairs window at the semi-detached property.

The witness, who asked not to be named, 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.”

The scene of the fire in Stafford
Image: An investigation into the cause of the blaze is ongoing
The fire tore through the roof of the house in the Highfields area of the town
Image: The fire tore through the roof of the house in the Highfields area of the town

Another eyewitness, who also didn’t want to give her name, 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.”

The fire service is investigating the cause of the blaze
Image: The fire service is investigating the cause of the blaze

Bryan Pickering, who lives around 40 yards from the property, was among those who contacted the emergency services after seeing the fire.

He said: “We were straight on to 999.

“The flames were coming out that bad, there was nothing you could have done – even with a ladder.”

Amanda Blagg, who lives locally, visited the scene to lay flowers and a teddy in memory of the children.

Wiping away tears, the 38-year-old told reporters: “I saw the mum every day at the school – her son is in the nursery with my son.

“I heard what had happened on the news and I just cried straight away. It’s awful.”

The fire service is investigating the cause of the blaze
Image: The fire service is investigating the cause of the blaze

Relatives of the children who died were thought to be among a group of four people who visited a cordon in nearby Whittingham Drive to lay down tributes.

A handwritten 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.”

Another read: “Will be dearly missed, love Uncle Dave and Auntie Lou Lou”, while another added: “To my lovely grandkids I will always miss you. Love you always xxx”

Officers said this morning that a search at the property is ongoing and the Stafford Fire and Rescue Service is investigating the cause of the fire.

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) were called to the blaze by the fire service.

Staffordshire Police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with the family, who are being supported by specialist officers at this difficult time.”

Police have said their 'thoughts are with the family' of the four child victims
Image: Police have confirmed the children were aged between three and eight

A Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “Our thoughts are with the family of those involved in this awful tragic incident.

“We’ll be carrying out a joint fire investigation into the cause of the fire with @StaffsPolice.”

Two paramedics, three ambulances, a hazardous area response team, a trauma team and an emergency doctor attended the scene.

A WMAS spokeswoman said: “When crews arrived they found an ongoing serious house fire. Three occupants, two adults and a child, had managed to get out of the property.

“All three patients were assessed and treated on scene by ambulance staff for non-life threatening injuries before being taken to hospital for further care.

“Tragically, four children from the property were confirmed dead on scene.

“Our thoughts are with the family at this exceptionally difficult time.”

Nicola Glover, headteacher at Castlechurch Primary School, said: “Our entire school community is absolutely devastated by this news.

“Riley was a very confident, excitable member of school who came everyday full of enthusiasm. He was a caring friend who hated to see anyone hurt or upset and would do his best to help or cheer them up.

“Tilly was a happy little girl who loved coming to nursery. She was a friendly and caring child who loved to read stories, dress up and paint.

“Olly was a happy, loving boy who loved cuddles. He was always happy to come to nursery and loved to be in the role play area with the dolls.

“We have put in place support in school for staff and pupils, to help anyone who feels affected. Our sympathies are with the children’s family and friends at this unimaginably difficult time.”

Kim Ellis, headteacher at Marshlands Special School where Keegan was a pupil, said: “Keegan was lively, full of fun and mischief with a really endearing smile. He loved school and everyone who worked with him loved him. We are all so proud of him and the progress that he had made.

“It is very hard to accept what has happened. Our school community are understandably devastated and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

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