Murder Probe Into Helensburgh House Fire

Police have launched a murder investigation into a house fire in Helensburgh in which an 8 year old girl and her 21 year old brother were killed.

Police have named the siblings as Bridget and Thomas Sharkey.

Their parents are being treated in hospital for "serious burns'' after the blaze and are in a critical condition.

Emergency services were called to the fire at a property in Scott Court in Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, at around 5.10am on Sunday the 24th of July.

They found the 21-year-old man dead at the scene.

The other occupants of the house, a 55-year-old man, his 46-year-old wife and their eight-year-old daughter were taken by ambulance to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, Renfrewshire.

The young girl died a short time later while her father was later transferred to Glasgow Royal Infirmary.

The incident has sent shockwaves through the town on the banks of the River Clyde.

Helensburgh Central councillor Al Reay said: `"Everybody is very shocked, particularly given the fact a young girl has been killed, and a young boy.

This sort of thing doesn't normally happen in Helensburgh.

It is a serious tragedy.''

Mr Reay added: "I understand that the father raised the alarm himself and was hanging out of the window shouting for help.

The fire brigade turned up very quickly and evacuated everybody from the adjacent flats.''

The parents were named locally as Tommy and Angela Sharkey.

Streets around Scott Court were cordoned off with police tape yesterday and officers were letting only residents through to their homes.

A police incident support unit and fire truck were parked near the scene and an officer in a white suit was at work.

Area commander Chief Inspector Fergus Byrne, said: "Extensive inquiries have been ongoing all day at the scene, including a full crime scene forensic investigation by forensic scientists, fire service and Strathclyde Police.

This investigation is continuing, however, we believe that this fire was started intentionally and the deaths are now being treated as murder.''

Police said post-mortem examinations would be carried out to establish the exact cause of death.

The officer in charge of the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Anne McKerchar, said: "This is a tragic event made worse by the fact that it was a deliberate act.''

She appealed for information from anyone who was in the James Street, West Princes Street or West Clyde Street areas of Helensburgh around 5am yesterday morning who may have seen anything suspicious.

An incident room has been set up at Dumbarton Police Office.

One neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: "They had lived there a few years and were a nice normal family. It is terrible. It makes any problems the rest of us might have seem insignificant.''