A murder investigation has been launched after two children died and a woman was critically injured in a fire at a flat in Nottingham, police have said.

The fire occurred in the first-floor flat of a two-storey residential property in Clifton, at about 3.17am on Sunday. Fire crews tackled the blaze, and it was extinguished by about 4am.

A woman and two children, aged three and one, were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and taken to Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. Despite the efforts of medical staff, the two children were pronounced dead at the hospital.

Nottinghamshire police said the woman, believed to be in her thirties, remained in a critical condition.

DCI Greg McGill said a joint investigation by police and the fire service had concluded that the blaze was started deliberately.

“These are tragic and very sad circumstances and my thoughts are with the family of those involved,” he said.

“We are appealing for witnesses who were in the area at that time and saw something suspicious to please come forward and help us with the investigation.

“We have a team of detectives who are working hard to establish the circumstances and our inquiries remain in their early stages.”

Anyone with any information has been asked to contact Nottinghamshire police online, or by calling 101 and quoting incident 0110-20112022. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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