POLICE have launched a murder investigation after the body of a 37-year-old woman was found in a horror blaze in the early hours of this morning.
Police were called to the house in the Church Street area of Portadown, Armagh at around 2.15am after receiving a report of a house fire.
Officers, personnel from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and the Northern Ambulance Service rushed to the scene.
Sadly, a 37-year-old woman was pronounced dead a time later.
In a statement this afternoon Detective Chief Inspector Rachel Wilson said: "Police received a report of a house fire in the Church Street area of Portadown at around 2.15am this morning, Tuesday 21st March.
"Officers attended alongside colleagues from the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service and the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
"Sadly, a 37-year-old woman was pronounced dead at the scene.
"We have now launched a murder investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death.
"A number of residents have been evacuated from their homes in the area due to the fire.
"Church Road is currently closed to motorists and pedestrians and we would ask that the public avoid the area at this time.
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“Our investigation continues, and I am appealing to anyone with information, or who witnessed anything untoward, to please get in touch.
"Likewise, if you have captured dash cam footage, please contact officers on 101 quoting reference number 92 of 21/03/23.”
Alternatively, information can be provided to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Upper Ban MP Carla Lockhart described the death as “very sad”.
In a statement on Twitter, she said: “Very sad news coming from Portadown this morning about the death of a woman in a house fire.
“Police are continuing their enquiries and need the time and space to do this.
"Anyone with information please call 101 or use the confidential hotline.”
DUP Councillor Kyle Moutray also told of his shock and sadness at the news.
They commended emergency services for their work and Health Trust staff and council workers who coordinated an evacuation process in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
He told Cool FM news: “I mean, my initial reaction is obviously one of shock and sadness.
“This is a death that has occurred in the most tragic of circumstances, and obviously, my thoughts initially are with the family of those involved.
“As well, I would just like to thank and commend the emergency services, both police and fire service, who attended the scene, and I understand as well there are health trust staff and indeed council workers that coordinated an evacuation process in the very early hours of the morning.
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“So I commend them for their actions as well, but yes, my initial reaction is that of shock and sadness.”
He added: “There has already been a real outpouring of sadness of grief across social media, and I know that my views are being echoed by many people who wish to send their condolences to those involved.”
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