Dad's tragic Facebook posts before dying with his three children in car blaze

Olivia Lambert
News Editor

The former rugby league player who died with his three children in a car that erupted in flames in a quiet Brisbane street had shared several posts on Facebook of his family in the past few weeks.

Rowan Baxter, a fitness trainer who played for the New Zealand Warriors, died with his kids Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey, who were all under 10, in a car that was allegedly set alight on Wednesday morning at Camp Hill.

A woman also in the car, believed to be Mr Baxter’s wife and mother of the three children, was rushed to hospital with serious burns. She later died of her injuries.

Police could not disclose how the fire was started but described it as “terrible”.

Rowan Baxter and his three children died after flames engulfed their car. Source: Facebook

"How the fire actually occurred has not been ascertained at the moment, so for us to call it a murder-suicide or a tragic accident, it's inappropriate at this stage," Detective Inspector Mark Thompson said.

“I've seen some horrific scenes – this is up there with some of the best of them.

"It's a terrible thing to be presented with."

Mr Baxter posted on Facebook on December 30 he missed his kids and in several posts since revealed his love for them.

“T-R-E-Y Love you to the moon and back #daddy,” he posted last Thursday alongside a picture of his son.

He then posted another black-and-white photo in January of him cuddling one of his children with the caption: “Goodnight my babies Daddy loves you.”

Also in January, Mr Baxter posted a video of him playfully wrestling his three children, with the four of them screaming and laughing.

Rowan Baxter posted on Facebook about how much he loved his kids. Source: Facebook

A member of the New Zealand Warriors NRL squad in the mid-2000s, Mr Baxter had been working at a Brisbane fitness centre with his wife who was a trampolining champion.

Neighbours reported hearing multiple explosions before seeing the car engulfed in flames in Raven Street about 8.30am Wednesday.

A man who tried to help at the scene has also been taken to hospital with facial burns.

Rowan Baxter posted this photo on January 10 with the caption, "Goodnight my babies". Source: Facebook

Neighbour Murray Campbell said he heard a number of loud bangs.

"It sounded very much like a gas cylinder explosion," he told AAP.

He said he called triple-0, and did not see anyone run from the car, which was engulfed in flames.

"It was just horrible, multiple explosions, very loud," he said.

Police Minister Mark Ryan described the incident as "horrific".

Police were called to the scene at Camp Hill about 8.30am on Wednesday. Source: AAP

The car has been wrapped in orange plastic but the vehicle appears to have been severely damaged by the fire. 

A major crime scene has been established with police condoning off a large part of the street and several side streets. 

The family was not involved in any Family Court or Federal Court proceedings.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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With AAP

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