Nottingham fire victims' neighbour says 'lovely' family were only in flat waiting to be housed

Steven Davies was asleep in his ground floor flat when the fire that killed two children took hold on the floor above.

"I just woke up and the house was on fire," he says.

"I saw the fire brigade drag out the little kids, I knew they were gone because the smoke was horrendous coming out... they had no chance."

Two girls, aged one and three, were pronounced dead shortly after the fire broke out at the flat in the Clifton area of Nottingham just after 3am on Sunday.

A woman in her 30s, understood to be the girls' mother, is in a critical condition in hospital.

Police have arrested a 31-year-old man on suspicion of murder. He remains in custody.

Mr Davies didn't know his neighbours by name but says they'd lived in the flat above him for as long as he's lived there.

"She was a lovely lady, she was really kind," he says.

"It's devastating because obviously it's two little kids.

"I don't really know the children, I used to see them in the backyard. They were lovely."

"She was only there for emergency housing until the council sorted her out."

Whole community subdued

Among people laying flowers outside the flat was Reverend Lydia Carter.

"It's really shocking. I think there's just a sense of disbelief. The whole community seems subdued this morning that something like this can happen so close to home," she says.

She adds that the local church will be open all week for people to light candles.

Local police are carrying out extra "reassurance patrols" for the community following the tragedy.