Four children have died and another is in hospital after a house fire which also left two adults injured.
Emergency services were called to Sycamore Lane in the Highfields area of Stafford at about 02:40 GMT.
Part of the roof of the house appears to have collapsed following the blaze.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are examining the scene as the investigation into the cause of the fire begins.
The injuries to the two adults and the child are not thought to be life-threatening.
Police said the family are being supported by specialist officers.
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At the scene: Jennie Aitken, BBC Radio Stoke
Neighbours I’ve spoken to are very upset and described hearing an explosion, or sound like a blast, that woke them.
The roof of the house is damaged, windows are smashed out and the rooms are blackened.
There is a large police and fire service presence and Sycamore Lane has been cordoned off.
Residents also said they heard there was a man that jumped out the window with a baby or a young child.
A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: « When crews arrived they found an ongoing serious house fire.
« Three occupants, two adults and a child, had managed to get out of the property. Tragically, four children from the property were confirmed dead on scene.
« Our thoughts are with the family at this exceptionally difficult time. »
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