Father and children die in fire

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FOUR young children and their 30-year-old father died in a fire at a flat in Renfrew, near Glasgow, yesterday after a light was dropped in the back bedroom, where three boys were sleeping.

Strathclyde Fire Brigade said there was a smoke alarm in the house, but they could find no evidence of a battery.

The fire started at around 6am. A ground-floor neighbour ran up to the third floor and kicked down the door before being beaten back by the thick smoke. The children's mother and grandmother managed to escape along with a fifth child who was last night in hospital in a critical condition.

Police named the victims as John Lilley and four of his children: John, nine, Anne Louise, six, and three-year-old twins Brian and Michael. Another daughter, 10-year-old Cherelle, was transferred to Glasgow's Yorkhill Hospital where her condition was critical. The children's mother Janet McLean, 33, and grandmother Ann Lilley, 55, were treated for the effects of smoke inhalation at the city's Southern General Hospital.

A police spokesman said the cause of the fire was still being investigated, but that it was probably due to a dropped light.