Police have launched a criminal investigation after two children were found dead in a suspected arson attack at a house in Birmingham.

Emergency services were called to the property in Holland Road, Hamstead, at around 3.40am on Friday (28 October).

Firefighters extinguished a fire in the hallway of the house and two children – a boy and a girl – were found inside suffering cardiac arrest.

Despite attempts by neighbours to resuscitate the pair, the ambulance service said "nothing could be done" to save either child and they were confirmed dead shortly after arriving at hospital.

A woman was also assessed by paramedics but did not suffer any serious injuries.

Residents speaking to the BBC said a neighbour had carried the children, reported to be six and eight years old, out of the house and laid them on the lawn.

Detective Inspector Justin Spanner, of West Midlands Police, said: "The events of this morning remain unclear and we are still trying to piece together the circumstances leading up to what happened.

"This is a terrible incident and my thoughts are with everyone who has been affected.

"If there was anyone in the area in the early hours of this morning who thinks they may be able to help us with our investigation I would urge them to get in touch with my team."

A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman added: "Bystanders had already started CPR which crews took over before also administering advanced life support.

"Treatment continued en route to hospital with the boy being taken to Sandwell Hospital and the girl to Birmingham Children's Hospital.

"Unfortunately, shortly after their arrival at the hospitals, it became clear that nothing could be done to save either child and they were confirmed deceased.

"A third patient, a woman, was assessed and discharged at the scene."

Police can be contacted on 101 or information can be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.