Four young children – the youngest just one year old – have perished in a devastating house fire in Melbourne’s southwest overnight.
A house fire in Werribee in Melbourne’s southwest has claimed the lives of four young children, including two boys and two girls.
Police were called to the scene on Sunday morning after a fire broke out at 1am. The ABC have reported it took 40 firefighters to put out the blaze.
Authorities initially feared the children were missing, however, police have since confirmed they perished in the fire.
The victims include a 10 year-old and three-year-old boy and a six and one-year-old girl who were found inside the home.
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 – has been taken to hospital with serious smoke-related injuries, a woman is being treated for smoke inhalation and the child has been 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.
It is currently unknown how the tragic fire occurred, however, police are investigating its origins.
A spokesman for the police said the arson explosives squad were attending the scene, although it’s unknown whether the cause was suspicious or not.
‘Very tragic circumstances’
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.
The collapsed roof also impeded access to the home, Mr Clancy said.
“It impeded access (and) made it too dangerous for firefighters to get in,” he said.
“These were particularly very tragic circumstances with four young children who perished in the fire.”
A Lieutenant at the Werribee Fire Brigade, Damien Molloy, said the collapsed roof and the intensity of the fire made it difficult for crews to initially access the home.
“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,” said Mr Molloy.
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.
Once firefighters arrived on the scene they were faced with a “compromised” structure and falling tiles from the roof, he said.
They were, however, able to prevent the blaze from spreading to other homes.
“It was well beyond the point where neighbours were able to make any impact on the extinction of the fire,” he said.
“It was well beyond anything that a neighbour would be able to assist in without putting themselves in serious danger.”
Alleged 000 delay slammed
In the aftermath of the blaze, unconfirmed reports suggested triple-zero calls made to emmergency services took as long as 15 minutes to be received.
“Neighbours say they we’re trying to get through to 000 for 15 minutes before anyone answered,” tweeted 7News reporter, Christie Cooper.
News.com.au has contacted Victoria Police and the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority for comment.