Five children and father believed to have died in Welsh farmhouse fire – The Guardian

Five children aged four to 11 are believed to have died alongside their father in a fire at a remote farmhouse in mid Wales. Three other youngsters, aged 10, 12, and 13, managed to escape from the fire at Pointyn Farm, Llangammarch Wells, and are being treated in hospital.

Investigators are combing through the wreckage and are treating the fire as unexplained.

Supt Jon Cummins said: “Dyfed-Powys police are continuing to investigate and deal with the tragic house fire that occurred at Pointyn Farm, Llangammarch Wells, Powys, shortly after midnight on 30 October. Specialist scientists and fire investigators continue to assess the scene, which is very complex and perilous.

“The 13-, 12- and 10-year-old children that managed to escape remain in hospital. None are in a life threatening condition, and they are being supported by specialist officers and family.

“Based on current information available to us, we are working on the hypothesis that one adult male and five children, aged between 11 and four years old, are unaccounted for and believed to be deceased within the house. Due to the severity of damage at the scene we are unable at this stage to identify any of the deceased.

“At this time we are treating the cause of the fire as unexplained. The family are our priority and they are being kept informed, and fully supported by specialist officers. They have asked that their privacy is respected at this extremely difficult and traumatic time, and do not wish to be contacted in any way. They would also like to thank friends and locals for their support, sympathies and all kindness shown to them.

“Our officers and all our partners such as the fire service are working in extremely challenging conditions and circumstances, and I thank and commend them for their efforts. This is a tragic incident, and our deepest sympathies are with the family and all those affected.”

The man who died has been named locally as David Cuthbertson, 68, a builder and the father of more than a dozen children.

Flowers and tributes have been left near to the scene of the blaze and by lunchtime on Tuesday more than £4,000 had been donated for the family via a page on the JustGiving website.

One floral tribute left at the scene said: “Such a terrible tragedy, special thoughts to family and friends.”

Barry Smith, a family friend, wrote on Facebook: “I knew Dave for around 14 yrs … I can’t & won’t get over it … rest in peace Dave & all the little ones that died with you.”

Ron Birchall, 73, who lives at the former Aberceiros Inn in the village, said: “He was a great father who loved his kids and doted on them. We have been living here since 2002 and when we arrived he was living in a village a couple of miles away and then a year or so later he moved to the village. I used to see him walking around the village or in his vehicle. We saw the kids coming to pick up the bus to school.”

Flowers left close to the scene in Llangammarch Wells, Powys.



Flowers left close to the scene of the blaze. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

A team of fire and rescue dogs was at the scene on Tuesday as the investigation continued.

County councillor Tim Van-Rees, who represents the area, described the community’s shock. “I knew the father and several of the children,” he said. “They were a large family, although I am not sure how many were living there. It is absolutely shocking and a devastating blow and it is possibly just as well we are in half-term at the moment because the effect on our children and the schools would have been very severe.”

The Welsh ambulance service said members of its hazardous area response team and four emergency ambulance crews attended, and 20 members of Brecon mountain rescue team helped search the surrounding area for casualties.

The fundraising page is available at: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tragicfiredonation

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