Neighbours have revealed the horrific moment a distraught father banged on their door as his Melbourne home was engulfed in flames with four children inside.
A Melbourne couple have revealed the horror moment they realised four children were trapped inside their neighbour’s home as it became engulfed in flames.
Police were called to a home in Werribee in Melbourne’s southwest on Sunday morning after a fire broke out at around 1am.
Three family members managed to escape the blaze and, in the commotion, authorities initially feared the other four children had gone missing.
However, it was later confirmed they had perished in the fire.
The victims include two boys, aged 10 and three and two girls, aged six and one.
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 mother, father and an eight-year-old boy managed to escape the blaze.
Neighbour Geeta Deagan told the Herald Sun of the horrific moment the father rushed to their door after the fire broke out.
“He banged on our door … (and said) to my husband, ‘my kids are dead, my kids are dead,’ ” Ms Deagan said.
The woman, who had lived in the area for six years, said she then tried to comfort the mother who told her, “They are not going to come back … my four kids died, I’m not a good mum, I’m not a good mum”.
Photos taken by NCA’s NewsWire showed police collecting the bodies from the property and carrying them out of the home.
Friends and loved ones of the family openly wailed in the street as they returned to the ruins of the home on Sunday, according to Nine News.
A family friend told the media outlet that the situation was “devastating” for the surviving family.
Investigation into how fire broke out
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.
Of the injuries, the man – a firefighter – was taken to hospital with serious smoke-related injuries, a woman was treated for smoke inhalation and the child was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The statement also confirmed that a 45-year-old man, a 38-year-old woman, and an eight-year-old boy were able to escape the fire.
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.
Detective Senior Sergeant Ashley Ryan told reporters was also an upsetting scene for the emergency services.
“Our hearts go out to the family this morning but it’s also very distressing for members of Victoria police and emergency services,” he said.
Detective Ryan said it was a “terrible set of circumstances”.