A house fire that killed a family of six including five children in north London was started by a chest freezer, authorites say.

Post-mortems discovered that all six victims had died from fume inhalation, which overwhelmed them whilst attempting to escape.

Those killed were Muna Elmufatish, 41, daughters Hanin Kua, 14, Basma, 13, Amal, 9, and brothers Mustafa, 5, and Yehya, 2.

Steve Turek, assistant commissioner for the London Fire Brigade, said: "Fire investigators will continue to piece together the tragic events of Saturday morning but early indications are that the fire was caused by a chest freezer in the hallway of the house. "Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of those who died.

"This tragic event should focus people's minds on how they can make their home safer."

The father of the children and their 16-year-old sister escaped the flames but are in a critical condition.

The London Fire Service's spokesman said, "Six people died and two people were seriously injured in a blaze that started in the early hours of Saturday morning in a two-storey semi-detached house on Sonia Gardens in Neasden.

"Fire investigators believe that a chest freezer, which was in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs, may have caused the fire. The make of the chest freezer is not known at this stage."

Coroner's officer Rebecca Smith broke down in tears whilst reading out the details of the tragic deaths.

Police have no reason to believe the deaths are suspicious, although an investigation is under way.

As a result of the lives lost, the London Fire Brigade will be piloting a fire safety programme running across primary schools in the capital.

The "Share it to Save a Life" group on Facebook will be working in coordination with the fire service to encourage the online community to exchange fire safety tips.