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blaze turns to murder investigation


Jul 27, 2001
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All seven bodies now recovered after Omagh blaze

Police investigating a house fire in which seven people died in Northern Ireland, launched a murder investigation today after discovering petrol in the building.

Detective Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter would not confirm who he believed was behind the attack which killed the parents and five children yesterday morning.

The house in Omagh, Co Tyrone, was left a blackened shell and the roof destroyed during the fierce fire from which none of the inhabitants are believed to have escaped.

"We have now moved to the position where we are saying this is a crime scene and we have commenced a murder investigation," he said.

"This is one of the most tragic and devastating murder investigations the PSNI has had to encounter with the loss of so many young lives."

A team of 30 detectives and support staff had been appointed, said.

"Our initial forensic examination of the home has established that there was a significant quantity of accelerant discovered in the property."

All seven bodies in the Omagh fire tragedy have now been located, police said tonight.

A specialist fire investigator is due to arrive from England later today to "quality assure" the inquiry.

The terraced house remains cordoned off, with tonnes of blackened rubble affected by persistent rain.

Police are conducting searches of the general area.

Arthur McElhill, his partner Lorraine McGovern and the five children, aged between 14 years and 10 months, are all believed to be inside.

Mr McElhill was a farm manager and the family had been living at the Lammy Crescent house for more than a decade.

Witness John McGlinn, a 21-year-old window cleaner, was among those who tried to save the family.

He said he saw the parents at the bedroom window desperately trying to break free before flames engulfed the premises like a bonfire.

"The screaming I will never forget, it was as if the whole place had been amplified, you could hear every noise, it was like being in a cinema with surround sound."

His brother Mark made it a couple of rungs up the ladder before flames were seen coming from the windows, roof and doors.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said he was shocked to learn of the news.

"Obviously that makes a bad situation very much worse, the thought that this could have been done by someone is something that is too horrible even to contemplate but it appears now that this is being contemplated by the police."

i normally wouldn't post news about northern ireland mainly cause its such a hot bed of views and opinions due to the politics but. seriously this has just made me speechless, all this cause they believe the father got into an arguement with someone a few days before:csad:

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