A Melbourne father has recounted the harrowing moment he tried to save his four children as a fatal fire swept through their family home.
A Melbourne dad has told of his desperate attempts to save his four children as their family home was consumed by fire on the weekend.
Siblings Hamid, 10, Esin, 6, Nadir, 3 and Elin, 1, were killed when their home in Werribee went up in flames in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Police were called to a home on Sunday morning after a fire broke out about 1am.
Their parents, Nagmeldin and Khadjah Osman and their eight-year-old son were the only family members to escape the blaze.
Mr Osman recalled the harrowing moment he was woken by his son Ibrahim after the fire had broken out.
“He’s the one that saved me and my wife. I was sleeping. He came in and said ‘Dad, fire’,” he told The Age.
Mr Osman said he desperately tried to enter the other children’s rooms to get them out of the house but was forced back multiple times by the flames.
“I thought, I can’t leave my kids, and I ran back in. The fourth time, when I couldn’t find a way, I ran to the back, breaking the glass to get inside,” he told the publication.
“I tried everything to save my kids.”
It took 30 firefighters more than an hour to bring the fire under control, with the roof of the family home collapsing in the process.
The Osman family released a statement on Monday afternoon thanking the community for its ongoing support.
“We’d like to thank our friends and the broader community for all their generosity and well wishes shared over the past 24 hours,” they said in a statement.
“As you can appreciate, this is an incredibly distressing time for us, and we ask that our family’s space and privacy is respected as we grieve.
“At this stage we won’t be making any further comment.”
Cause of fire being investigated
Police are still determining how the blaze started, with members of the arson and explosives squad conducting investigations.
David Clancy, a Commander from Country Fire Authority, said that by the time fire crews had arrived, the blaze had already spread through the house, with firefighters unable to conduct an internal exam.
He said the collapsed roof impeded access to the home and made it too dangerous for firefighters to enter.
“These were particularly very tragic circumstances with four young children who perished in the fire,” Mr Clancy said.
A media release from Victoria Police confirmed a man, woman and eight-year-old boy were taken to hospital as a result of the blaze.
Lieutenant at the Werribee Fire Brigade, Damien Molloy, said it was also initially difficult to get information from the family members, due to their level of distress.
“The distress of the parents and the eight year old (also made it) very difficult to get accurate information early on to be able to focus our search areas initially,” he said.
By the time emergency services were on the scene, Mr Molloy said it was “way beyond” anything a neighbour could have done to help extinguish the flames.
Community rallies behind family with crowdfunding
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help support the family through this horrific tragedy. At the time of publishing, the page had raised more than $271,000.
Organiser of the crowdfunding page, Fathi Ahmed, said all money raised would go to covering the cost of funeral and memorial services for the children, along with rebuilding their home and replacing the items they had lost in the blaze.
Mr Ahmed described the four children as “bright and beautiful”, saying that tragedy had cause tremendous heartache for the family.
“This unexpected house fire has caused the deaths of four young, bright and beautiful children, who were all so full of life and love, who had the most infectious smiles and radiated such a light that could illuminate the deepest and darkest of places,” he wrote.
“This has caused a tremendous amount of emotional and psychological distress on the family.
“The family, friends and communities of this beautiful family are also extremely devastated and in complete agony by this sudden and unexplainable tragedy which has left many imploding with unbearable pain.”
He thanked the community for any support they could offer during this time as the family tries to “navigate through this excruciating and cruel reality”.