Five of father's seventeen children die in the council house he said wasn't big enough for his unconventional family - despite his desperate fight to save them
Victims are Jade Philpott, 10, her brothers John, nine, and Jack, seven, and sisters Jessie, six and Jaden, five
Their brother Duwayne, 13, remains in a critical condition in hospital
Two adults also caught in the blaze are not seriously hurt
Father, Mick Philpott, 'made a valiant attempt to save his children'
Mr Philpott featured on ITV show Ann Widdecombe Versus The Benefit Culture and The Jeremy Kyle show
He has had 17 children from five different women
A woman in her 20s has been arrested in connection with the fire
By Ted Thornhill
A woman was today arrested after five children aged between five and 10 perished in a house fire, despite the desperate efforts of their father to save them.
Jade Philpott, 10, her brothers John, nine, and Jack, seven, and sisters Jessie, six and Jaden, five, were killed in the fierce blaze in the early hours of the morning in the semi-detached property in Allenton, Derby.
Mick Philpott, who has fathered 17 children, by five different mothers, made 'valiant' attempts to save them, according to witnesses.
Their 13-year-old brother, Duwayne, remains in a critical condition in hospital in Birmingham. His parents are by his bedside.
Mr Philpott has made national headlines in the past when he complained the council house was too small for his growing brood. He also appeared on the Jeremy Kyle TV show, where he had an angry exchange with the presenter over his lifestyle.
An unnamed woman in her twenties was today being held on suspicion of murder.
'Valiant': Police said that Mr Philpott made a heroic attempt to save his children
Tragedy: The scene in Victory Road, Allenton, Derby, where five children died and two adults were taken to hospital this morning after a fire
The police revealed that all the children were asleep in upstairs bedrooms when the fire started and that the two adults were downstairs.
Speaking about the size of the property a few years ago Mr Philpott said: 'It's very cramped already but when everyone is here, there is nowhere to sit. I end up sleeping in a tent in the garden and that's not on.
'We obviously need a new place but the council won't give us one. They always come up with the same excuses, and they're just not good enough.
'I used to love my country but I'm just sick of it now. I'm really ashamed of what's happening. I think this country is going down the pan.'
The council had said the home where he was living was the biggest they had available.
TV appearance: Mick Philpott on the Jeremy Kyle Show, where he talked about the 15 children he had at the time
Mr Philpott has featured on the ITV programme Ann Widdecombe Versus The Benefit Culture and also made an appearance on an episode of Jeremy Kyle (video below) billed 'Father to 15... Wife and girlfriend pregnant again!'.
In a heated exchange Mr Philpott told the host: 'When it comes to my family I'm very defensive.'
Kyle then accused the unemployed father of not making enough effort to find work and asked: 'What are you worth?'
Mr Philpott replied: 'I'm worth more than you.'
Eventually the debate become so heated that a security guard had to intervene.
In connection to the fire, Police confirmed that a woman in her 20s was arrested hours later on suspicion of murder and is being held. Officers would not reveal if she was related to any of the victims.
The spokesman for Derbyshire Police said: 'She was not arrested at the house. She was arrested elsewhere in the city.
'At the moment we are keeping a very, very open mind as to the cause of the fire.'
The spokesman added that the father made a 'valiant attempt to save his children'.
Mick Philpott with his wife Mairead Philpott, girlfriend Lisa Willis and 11 of his children
Blaze: Emergency services were called to the house on Victory Road in Allenton, Derby, just before 4am today
Derby fire deaths
The alarm was raised by neighbour Joe Peel, who was woken by his dog.
He looked out of his window and saw that the door was on fire, so he immediately called the fire brigade.
He said: 'I was woken by the dog barking. I ran out of the house and could hear screaming. There were other neighbours there. No one could could get near the house because of flames and smoke. Everyone was screaming.
'There was black smoke billowing from the property and flames shooting up the stairs. It was horrible.'
Another neighbour, who didn’t want to be named, said: 'It was terrible, just so bad. It was the worst thing I’ve seen in my life.
'I did what any parent would do and ran to the house, but there was nothing anybody could do.'
A neighbour, who gave her name only as Kaye, said she saw flames coming out of the house and 'loads of ambulances', and described it as a 'horrible, horrible' scene.
'I just saw the babies going to the ambulance because it was parked outside our house,' she said.
'The children are friends with my kids. They played with my children.
'They were OK, good kids.'
Neighbour Callum Stevenson, 17, desperately tried to rescue the family from the blaze, but was held back by police.
His brother, Daniel, 23, said: ‘I woke up in the middle of the night and heard Mick shouting out in his garden.
‘I opened the window and could smell smoke. Mick was absolutely frantic, screaming about his kids.
‘I woke up my brother and he ran outside and round to the back of the house.
‘I called the fire brigade as I could see smoke plumetting out of the windows.
‘My brother grabbed a ladder and started climbing up to reach the windows at the back of the house - there was no sign of Mick’s wife or the children though.
‘He managed to smash a window but the police arrived within minutes and stopped him from going into the house.
‘Mick was distraught. There was nothing he could do to get to his kids.
‘I don’t know how he got out, but the fire seemed to be burning from the front of the house.’
Another neighbour, Julia Bosworth, 34, said: ‘Mick is an amazing dad and loved his kids to bits.
‘He would do anything for them. I know the family had an unusual set up, with both his wife and girlfriend living together at one point, but the children were always happy and very well cared for.
‘Mick looks out for all the children who live on the street - everyone knew him because he was such a friendly guy.
‘All of Mick’s children were well looked after and were always in bed at a reasonable hour - they were a lovely family to live on the same street as.
‘It’s an absolute tragedy. I don't think any of us have been able to take it in properly.’
A police spokesman said: 'As the investigation continues further information will be released to the public. Anyone who can help the police inquiry into the incident should contact the police.
'Our thoughts are with the parents and the family of the children for their tragic loss and for the community of Allenton, who would of course have known the children as they played.'
Speaking at the scene, Gavin Tomlinson, area manager for Derby Fire and Rescue Service, said all six people had been rescued quite early in the incident.
He added that 'quite a lot of people in the street were trying to help as well'.
He described the incident as 'frustrating, traumatic and tragic' for the family, relatives and the firefighters who dealt with it.
Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service chief fire officer Sean Frayne told a press conference of the attempts to save the children.
He said 30 firefighters were sent to the scene.
‘When the first crew arrived on scene, they were faced with a fire at the front of the building. They quickly made their way past the fire to search the rest of the premises, having been told that persons were inside the house.
‘The crews worked extremely hard in very difficult circumstances and very quickly located six casualties.
‘They moved the six casualties to open air, where they worked with our colleagues in the ambulance service to try to resuscitate.
‘Personnel at the scene then continued to work very, very hard to save the lives of the five fatalities.
‘Unfortunately this has had a huge effect not only on the community but certainly within the fire and rescue service and other emergency services that were in attendance.’
Daniel Walsh, who said he had been a friend of Mr Philpott for many years, visited the scene this morning to lay a bunch flowers.
He said the fire was 'shocking', adding: 'It's absolutely tragic. Any parent's worst nightmare.
'I didn't know his younger children. He had many children, as everybody knows, and he loved them all the same, no doubt.
'It's just a tragic loss.'
This morning at the scene, which is not far from the Rolls-Royce factory, there were few visible signs of the extent of the tragedy.
The whole of Victory Road was placed under a police cordon and a number of fire service and police vehicles were parked outside the semi-detached house.
Two upstairs windows at the front of the property were open and at the back, which borders a Sainsbury’s supermarket, the upstairs windows were blackened and smashed.
Fire service personnel could be seen carrying out investigations at the house.
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