A 31-year-old man was charged with four counts of murder last night in connection with a Staffordshire house fire.
Roderick Hine, and his partner's children, Samantha Carter, aged 16, Patricia Carter, aged ten, and Marcus Carter, aged seven, died in the blaze at the house in Cheddleton, near Leek, Staffordshire, at about midnight on Thursday.
Police took the 31-year-old into custody in Stoke on Friday morning. He will appear before magistrates in Fenton today.
Mr Hine lived at the semi-detached house in Hillside Road with his partner, 35-year-old Amanda Carter and three of her four children.
Police had been unable to search the property in Hillside Road for clues as it had not been safe.
However, forensic experts yesterday started to sift through the rubble of the house, examining the remains brick-by-brick.
Scenes of crime officers, police photographers, videographers and forensic experts also converged on the scene.
A Staffordshire Police spokeswoman said: "Due to the severity of the fire, the building had to be made safe before we could go in and carry out forensic testing.
"Forensic scientists will first concentrate on the debris at the rear of the house and any evidence will be securely stored.
"The whole process, from making the property stable to completion, will be three days but we hope the forensic testing will be complete by the end of today.
"This scene is one of the most challenging that Staffordshire Police have ever encountered but we are dedicated to bringing this investigation to a satisfactory conclusion."
The children's mother, Amanda Carter, aged 35, was working at the time of the fire.
Initial results of postmortem examinations on the victims show they all died from carbon monoxide poisoning, as a result of breathing in smoke.
Flags on public buildings in the Staffordshire Moorlands were flown at half-mast yesterday and three headteachers paid tribute to Marcus, Patricia and Samantha.
Susan Taylor, head of Beresford Memorial First School, where Marcus attended, said: "It was with great sadness that we heard the news of Marcus' death.
"Marcus was a popular, hard-working boy with a great future ahead of him.
"The thoughts of everyone at the school are with her family."
Julia Turner, of Churnet View Middle, where Patricia was a pupil, said: "Patricia was a lovely girl who will be sadly missed by everyone at the school.
"She was very happy and full of fun, with a great sense of humour.
"All her classmates have said how she would always help others."
Judy Samuel, headteacher of Leek High School, where Samantha attended until last summer, said: "Sam was a well known and liked member of the school community who had many friends.
"She worked hard and persevered in order to do the best she possibly could with her examinations." ..SUPL: