Teenager ruled out in fire death probe

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The Independent Online

A 17-year-old arrested in connection with a house fire that left two children dead was today released and ruled out as a suspect, police said.

Niamh and Cayden Maynard, aged five and two, died in the fire at their home in Buxton, Derbyshire, on Friday night after they became trapped upstairs.

Their mother, 23-year-old Fiona Adams, jumped to safety from a bedroom window on to a trampoline with her eight-month-old son Kiernan.

Today, Derbyshire Police said a 17-year-old arrested in the early hours of yesterday morning in connection with the fire in Edale Way has been released from custody and is no longer a suspect.

The teenager has been interviewed and police have decided no further action will be taken against him and he is not suspected of being involved in the incident, they said.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill said: "During the course of any investigation we make arrests when someone's conduct gives rise to suspicion as to their actions.

"After a thorough investigation, I am satisfied that this 17-year-old is not involved in the fire.

"As I have previously stated, the community of Fairfield have been very supportive to our investigation so far and I am extremely grateful for that and the way in which local people have responded to this tragedy.

"My plea is that this continues. The police investigation is still very much ongoing and the help and co-operation of the community is pivotal to it being successful."

Emergency services were called to the blaze just before midnight on Friday night.

It is believed the children's father James Maynard was at work at the time.

Ms Adams and her baby were rushed to hospital after jumping from the bedroom window, but the two children were trapped upstairs.

Today, police said both mother and baby were stable in hospitals in Manchester.

Post-mortem examinations were due to take place on Niamh and Cayden today, but police said formal identification had yet to take place.

Investigations were continuing into the possible cause of the fire, which has been described as suspicious by police.

Today, Mr Cotterill appealed for anyone with any photographs or video footage of the scene either before, during or after the blaze to come forward.

He said: "We have received scores of calls and approaches by people with information and for that I am very grateful.

"I'd urge anyone who may have photographs or video footage of the scene of the fire either prior to, during or after the incident to get in touch with us to help us build up a full picture of what has happened.

"The investigation at the house continues today to pinpoint the cause of the fire and I would like to reassure local people we are doing everything we can to get to the bottom of this matter."

Yesterday, it emerged Ms Adams called police on a non-emergency number just an hour before the fire broke out to report noise and nuisance in her garden.

Officers attended within 16 minutes and searched the area but could not find anything, police said.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has been informed of the incident.

Police said they had attended the address several times over the past three years concerning domestic-related incidents rather than anti-social behaviour or nuisance-related incidents.

Tributes including flowers and teddy bears continued to be placed at the scene today as prayers were said in the local community.

Rev Carl Edwards, vicar at nearby St Peter's Church, said the tragedy had hit the local community hard.

He said: "It's a very tight-knit community but Buxton is of the nature whereby most people know or are connected in some way, and Fairfield is very tight-knit.

"So when an incident of this kind of magnitude hits one family it tends to hit many others as well, so there's a sense in which everybody is sharing in the grief."

He said he visited the area yesterday afternoon and planned to return today.

"When I was there I encountered a number of different reactions - shock, anger and grief of course and these are all things that people are coming to terms with."

This morning's service included prayers for the family and seven candles were lit in the church - five for the five years of Niamh's life and two for Cayden - as well as a two-minute silence.

A spokeswoman for the nearby Methodist church said although they did not know the family, they had also said prayers this morning.

Investigations were continuing tonight into reports that Ms Adams had experienced problems with anti-social behaviour.

Mr Cotterill previously said police received a call at 10.45pm on Friday night from the 23-year-old reporting nuisance behaviour and noise coming from her back garden.

He said that while one officer sat and spoke with her, a second conducted a search. Some garden furniture had been disturbed but nothing else was found.

He said: "We are looking at whether there is any possible connection with this first call and the fire around an hour later.

"We can further confirm that police have previously been called to the premises over the last three years, mainly in relation to domestic-related matters and on a couple of occasions in relation to reports of anti-social behaviour/damage."