by a Newsnet Reporter
A murder investigation is underway after a brother and his young sister died after a fire in a house in the Firth of Clyde town of Helensburgh. The man, aged 21, was found dead at the scene. The girl, aged 8, died later in hospital. A middle aged man and woman, believed to be the parents of the deceased, were being treated in the specialist burns unit at Alexandra hospital in Paisley for serious burns and smoke inhalation. The father was later transferred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.
An off-duty police officer raised the alarm on early on Sunday morning when he noticed smoke coming from the building in Scott Street. Emergency services were in attendance at the blaze from 5.10 am and the fire was quickly brought under control.
Strathclyde police, who are leading the investigation, say that an investigation is currently underway to establish the exact cause of the blaze, but that the indications are that the fire was started deliberately.
Police have appealed for members of the public with any information about the incident to come forward. In a statement, a spokesperson for Strathclyde police said: “Extensive enquiries have been ongoing all day at the scene, including a full crime scene forensic investigation by forensic scientists, fire service and Strathclyde Police.
“This investigation is continuing, however, we believe that this fire was started intentionally and the deaths are now being treated as murder.”
Detective Chief Inspector Anne McKerchar said: “This is a tragic event made worse by the fact that it was a deliberate act.
“An incident room has been set up at Dumbarton Police Office and I would appeal to anyone with any information that may help police enquiries to come forward.
“In particular, I would ask anyone who was in the James Street, West Princes Street or West Clyde Street areas of Helensburgh around 0500 hours [on Sunday] morning who may have seen anything suspicious or untoward to contact us as a matter of urgency.”
The telephone number of the police incident room is 01389 822061. Alternatively any member of the public with relevant information can contact Crimestoppers on the freephone number 0800 555 111.