The tragic deaths of four children in a house fire in Melbourne's west in the early hours of Sunday morning have sparked an outpouring of grief as investigators piece together how the blaze began.Key points:
- Four children aged between one and 10 died in the fire
- The parents are in a stable condition, and one child has been released from hospital
- Police are still investigating the cause of the blaze
Neighbours shed tears and firefighters looked visibly shaken as they recounted the events that unfolded on Mantello Drive, Werribee, just after 1am.
By the time emergency services arrived, the intensity of the blaze meant they were unable to reach the four children, who perished inside.
The children who died were two boys aged 10 and three and two girls aged six and one.
Their parents, a man and a woman, were taken to hospital, along with their eight-year-old son, all with smoke-related injuries.
The man and the woman are in a stable condition, and the child has been discharged from hospital.
Arson squad chemists have been at the home, but police are yet to reveal the cause of the blaze.Marie Pisua was a carer of the children who died in the fire.(ABC News)
Among those gathering to mourn the children was Marie Pisua, who provided family day care services for the family.
Speaking through a friend who was translating, Ms Pisua said she was devastated by the children's deaths.
"She can't believe it because she was with them last Friday and they took a picture at the library and yesterday [the fire] happened, so she's very emotional," the friend said on Ms Pisua's behalf.Sadam Ibrahim was among those leaving flowers at the house this morning.(ABC News: Annie Kearney)
Family friend Sadam Ibrahim said he saw reports of the fire on the TV news but had so far been unable to contact the parents of the children.
"I feel very bad," he said.
"It's very bad, so sad. It's a nice family, especially the kids."Investigators spent hours gathering evidence at the scene on Sunday.(ABC News: Nicole Asher)
CFA commander David Clancy described how the fire had already spread throughout the house by the time firefighters arrived, with the first crews getting there about 1:10am.
"Firefighters had a fairly arduous task to undertake the fire fight and were unable to conduct an internal attack due to the heat of the fire," he said.
Damien Milloy, a lieutenant at the Werribee brigade, was one of 40 firefighters who managed to bring the fire under control and prevent it from spreading to adjacent properties.Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. Neighbours witness Werribee house go up in flames.
He said the size of the fire and the collapsing roof made the home very difficult to access.
"The fire itself we have seen many times before," he said.
"But the complexity involved, then having four children trapped inside the house and, in a way, feeling a little bit helpless that you can't get in there."
According to the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA), the call for help to the fire was answered in one minute and 19 seconds.Bystanders shaken by tragedy Neighbour Robert Deagan said the incident had been devastating for the community.(ABC News: Stephanie Ferrier)
Robert Deagan, who lives next door to the house, tried to help extinguish the blaze using his backyard hose.
"It was devastating what happened, we're still feeling it as well," he said.
"It's been very hard on the whole neighbourhood. Situations like this, I guess communities do get together and help each other where they can."
Neighbour Richard Carlesso and his wife had arrived home from a night out not long before the blaze broke out.
They were alerted to the fire by the wail of sirens from emergency vehicles as well as the sound of people yelling and screaming.
Mr Carlesso said it was "incredible to see a house go up that quick".
"You've got minutes. And it would have been less than that for the people to get out," he said.
"How three people got out of it is amazing."Richard Carlesso shed tears as he recalled the events that unfolded in his Werribee street.(ABC News)
He did not know his neighbours well and described them as "quiet, private people".
"It's very sad that four kids have lost their life and two parents and a sibling have to live with that," he said.
Mr Carlesso recalled occasions where he saw the kids playing and "mucking around" in their front yard.
The man wiped away tears as he spoke to the media on Sunday.
"I'm trying to keep it together," he said. "It's very sad."Tributes have been left at the scene of the fatal house fire in Werribee.(ABC News: Stephanie Ferrier)
Another neighbour, Stephanie Bell, said she was returning home late from a visit to family with her husband when she started to smell smoke.
As they got closer, she could see flames and emergency services vehicles.
"I told my husband, 'There's something going on, and it's bad'," she said.Bunches of flowers and toy bears with messages of support have been left at the scene.(ABC News: Stephanie Ferrier)
Ms Bell said later finding out that four children had died in the fire was heartbreaking.
"I'm a mum. I know," she said. "It's really hard."
She said she would pray for the affected family.
Source : https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-11-22/tragedy-werribee-fire-deaths-four-children-community-shaken/100637940