Johannesburg - Three children were burnt beyond recognition in a shack fire in Wolmaranstad on Sunday, North West police said.

Captain Tselane Nkala said it was suspected that a stove was the cause of the fire.

He said the mother locked the children inside the shack when she went out to fetch water. She left a paraffin stove on.

Her two daughters - aged three and six - as well as a nine-year-old, who was visiting the family, died in the fire.

“According to the information received, the mother locked the door when she left to fetch water... It was the neighbours that saw the shack burning and went to try and save the little children who were locked inside, but all attempts failed. The three children burnt beyond recognition.”

The 41-year-old mother arrived later and found the three children were already dead.

“The mother was taken to hospital for shock. She was later taken to the police station for questioning.

A case of arson has been opened. - Sapa