Father, 3 daughters killed in house fire; murder-suicide suspected

house fire

A man who died in a house fire in Northern Italy along with three of his four young daughters is suspected of murder-suicide, news reports said on Friday.

The ANSA news agency said arson on the part of the father was suspected because rescuers found piled up material at the entrance of the flat, presumably used to start the fire.

The blaze took place in Como, a lakeside city about 50 kilometres north of Milan. A spokesperson for the regional health authority told dpa that a 49-year-old man and three girls aged 3, 7 and 11 died in the fire, while the fourth one aged 5 was in critical condition. Fire safety officials on the scene said the family was unconscious when they arrived shortly after 8 am (0600 GMT).

The sole survivor was given a heart massage for almost three hours, the health authority said. The family was from Morocco and was being followed by social services, ANSA said. The mother of the girls was not at home because she had recently checked into a clinic for mental health problems.