Four children have died following a house fire in Melbourne.
Arson squad detectives have been told the blaze started at a property in Mantello Drive, Werribee, just after 1am on Sunday. It took about 40 firefighters an hour to put the blaze out.
Police initially said four children were unaccounted for but confirmed the worst on Sunday morning.
Detective Senior Sergeant Ashley Ryan told reporters at the scene the children were two boys aged 10 and three, and two girls aged six and just one. They were all found dead inside the home.
Mr Ryan said a man and a woman along with their eight-year-old son were able to escape the fire. They are all being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
“It is a terrible set of circumstances and one that is very difficult for members of the family and our hearts go out to the family and to the community this morning,” he said.
“But also, very distressing for members of Victoria Police and emergency services given the circumstances.”
He was unable to confirm if the fire is being treated as suspicious. Police will speak with neighbours as part of their ongoing investigation.
The exact cause of the fire is yet to be determined.
Country Fire Authority District 14 Commander David Clancy called the deaths “very tragic”.
“It is certainly up there with other tragedies I have seen,” he said.
Fire Brigade Lieutenant Damien Molloy said the roof collapse made it difficult for crews to deal with the fire and rescue those inside.
"We were able to protect the exposures on either side and not have the fire extend beyond the property in question at the moment," he said.
"And also, with the distress of the parents and the eight year old, it was very difficult to get accurate information early on to be able to focus our search areas initially, externally, and then internally."
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