A married couple and their four young daughters have perished in a house fire that started in the living room sofa and quickly spread throughout the entire house.
The fatal incident occurred at a residence in the city centre of Huy, in eastern Belgium, on the night of 14th November.
Firefighters were alerted to the fire just before midnight and came to find the house fully engulfed in flames, local media reported.
Firefighters discovered six lifeless bodies in the blaze, the couple and their four children. They were later identified as parents Martine and Robert and their daughters: five-year-old Tatiana, eight-year-old Olivia, Natacha, 10, and Melissa, 14.
Fire Captain Christophe Jadot said: “The fire tonight [TUE] was extremely violent. We were contacted at exactly 11:52pm for a building fire where there was a suspicion of people inside the building.
“Upon arrival, the entire front facade was a wall of flames.
“As we worked and progressed inside the building, we found one victim, then two, then three… only to realise that there were six victims in this fire, an entire family.”
Jadot said when they arrived, he saw neighbours trying to put out the fire with fire extinguishers.
Despite their best efforts, however, they could not tame the inferno.
Firefighters struggled for hours to control the blaze that caused a power outage in the whole neighbourhood.
Albert, a neighbour, came out of his house when he noticed there was no more electricity. That was when he said he saw the burning home.
He told local media: “It’s a terrible tragedy. The mother was extraordinary. She did everything for her children.”
Eric Dosogne, acting mayor of the city of Huy, was quickly called to the scene.
He said: “This night, our city experienced a tragedy. A family, victims of a violent fire, unfortunately, could not be saved. My thoughts go to the victims, their family, and loved ones.”
Prosecutors believe the fire was most likely an accident.
Catherine Collignon, spokesperson and Chief Deputy Prosecutor, said: “There was a smouldering fire in a sofa, and due to a draft, the house ignited.
“The bodies will be analysed to determine if an autopsy is necessary.”
The fire captain took the opportunity to highlight the importance of fire detectors, adding: “Unfortunately, in my prevention profession, I see it too often, 50 per cent of homes today are still not equipped with autonomous smoke detectors. It saves lives.”
The cause of the fire is under further investigation.