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8 September 2010, 14:07
The bodies of two people, believed to be a mother and her 3 year old child, have been found at a house in Fishermead.
The house in Fishermead Boulevard caught fire in the early hours of Sunday morning - more than 30 firefighters were called out. At the time a woman was rescued from the property and suffered no injuries. She was rescued from a bedroom window using a ladder.
Bucks Fire & Rescue say at the time they tried to search the house to make sure everyone was accounted for but before the search could be finished floors and ceilings in the house collapsed.
The two people are believed to be Bola Ejifunmilayo, aged 29 and her daughter Fiyin Ejifunmilayo, aged 3 from Nigeria.
Their bodies were discovered 36 hours later.
It has now emerged that the house - which it's been reported severla families were living in - wasn't supposed to have lots of tenants inside.
A statement from Milton Keynes Council said:
From information provided by Thames Valley Police and Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, the property at 200 Fishermead Boulevard appears to be an unlicenced house in multiple occupation.
All Councils have a responsibility to inspect and regulate any reported instances of houses of multiple occupation, and rely on information from a number of sources including the public to do so.
We have not received any information about this property since we conducted our own investigation in January 2009 and were satisfied that it was occupied by a single family at that time.
On Tuesday Assistant Chief Fire Officer Des Williamson said: "This is a tragic loss of life and our thoughts are with their relatives and friends. The bodies were not found during the initial searches of the scene as firefighters were hampered by the severity of the fire and the amount of debris that had fallen into the room."
The Fire Service says that crews tried to get into the room where the bodies were eventually found but the floor gave way.
Mr Williamson added "Firefighters searched in the most difficult conditions imaginable. We couldn’t have done any more because of the intensity of the fire and the structural collapse within the building."
Speaking to Heart on Tuesday afternoon, Denis O'Driscoll - the Area Manager for Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service - said:
"At this time we're still trying to piece together the exact timelines and the details of what was happening. At a certain point during the morning we believed that everyone had been accounted for. Subsequently, as it turned out, that wasn't the case."
"We're carrying out a full investigation in conjunction with Thames Valley Police, so we want to try and do a piece-by-piece timeline of exactly what happened. But until we've been able to do that I wouldn't want to speculate [about what happened] at this time."
Supt Simon Eatwell from Thames Valley Police said:
“Our priority at this stage is to ensure that a thorough and proper investigation takes place to determine how this fire started and if any criminal offence has taken place. I would stress that at this stage, the fire is being treated as unexplained. Two people have tragically died in this fire, believed to be a mother and her daughter, and we owe it to them and their family to do everything we can to find out what happened.
“We have specially trained officers supporting the family during this difficult time and keeping them fully updated with the progress of the investigation. We are also liaising closely with the local pastor who is helping us keep the local community informed as well as providing support and comfort.”
Fiona Holmes lives next door to the house which was on fire. She and her husband are having to move in to a hotel because of the damage to their property. She says she didn't hear about the fatalities until she came back to pick up some belongings today:
"That's what's heart breaking, is that we all live here and we didn't know that that mum and baby were still in the property. Yeah, I'm homeless but I'm here. It really is stuff - it's not important compared to somebody losing their life."
People living on Fishermead Boulevard have started a collection so they can buy flowers for the people who died. One lady - who wanted to remain anonymous - told us why it's so important to pay their respects:
"We didn't know these people, but they're human beings. I think anybody who's human would be touched if it's a child. It's heart wrenching. It's just filled me up quite frankly."
The MP for Milton Keynes, Mark Lancaster, issued this statement following the accident:
"We are all deeply shocked by what happened in Fishermead and our thoughts go out to the friends and family of the victims. I have raised the issue of houses in multiple occupation, so called HIMOs, in Parliament in the past. But now I am simply determined to raise it again to ensure tragedies such as this are not repeated."
A 48-year old woman from Corby has been arrested on suspicion of arson. She is currently being held in police custody and is also being questioned about an earlier disturbance at the property.