Detectives have launched a murder inquiry after a six-year-old girl died at a Birmingham hospital after her home was set on fire by two intruders.
Alisha Begum had been unable to escape the blaze which engulfed her family's home in Bayswater Road, Perry Barr, after a disturbance at about 11.45pm on Friday.
Her father, who was visiting relatives in Bangladesh at the time, is said to be "distraught" and has now returned to Britain after hearing about his daughter's tragic death.
Det Insp Paul Hughes, of West Midlands Police's Major Investigation Unit, confirmed last night this had now been upgraded to a murder inquiry after Alisha died at Birmingham Children's Hospital at 7.25pm on Saturday.
Her mother and four other siblings, who have not been named, were also taken to hospital but have all since been released, following treatment for minor burns and smoke inhalation.
DI Hughes said: "We are now treating this as a murder inquiry and it is also a fresh appeal for anyone who was in the area of Bayswater Road at about 11.45pm on Friday to come forward and speak to police about anything they saw or whether they know of any motive for this callous attack.
"Alisha was clearly in a situation where she couldn't get out of the house the way the others did, in the face of such a ferocious fire.
"Witnesses can contact the incident room, or can even speak to us in confidence if necessary, to help us resolve this murder inquiry as quickly as we can.
"We are looking for as many witnesses as possible but what we would really like is for somebody to come forward who maybe knows what motivated this attack.
"The men who did this are particularly brutal and callous, and we would like to apprehend them as quickly as possible."
Yesterday forensic officers were still combing the house for clues, but police confirmed some sort of "accelerant" was used to start the blaze.
More than 40 detectives and police officers are currently involved in the murder investigation, many of whom are still conducting house-to-house inquiries and screening CCTV footage for further clues.
Initially detectives believed two Asian men wearing dark clothing forced entry to the property following a disturbance at about 11.45pm and then set it ablaze. The men, who may have been with further offenders, made off into Canterbury Road.
DI Hughes said: "We're currently keeping an open mind about possible suspects. Initially we'd been told that two men had been seen leaving the scene, but that was a very early line of inquiry. Since then we have identified a number of other potential leads."
Officers are linking the fire with a previous incident in the early hours of Friday when a dark vehicle was seen outside the same address and a number of people were seen in the front garden.
Coun Ayoub Khan (Lib Dem, Aston) said the local community were shocked by the blaze and Alisha's death.
He said: "This really does question the security of the area in which these residents live, when people appear to be able to just barge in and do something as outrageous as this.
"I am hopeful that the police will be able to apprehend those responsible as quickly as possible. So far people have been quiet about what has happened, until the news that Alisha had died in hospital, so I hope anyone with any information will help the police as far as they can.
"This is an area where neighbours know everyone who lives on their street, and certainly her family would've been well known at their local mosque."
* An incident room has been set up at Queens Road police station and anyone with information on either incident is asked to contact detectives on 0121 322 6074 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111