A 12-year-old girl has been praised for her quick thinking after saving her brothers and sisters from a house fire in Melbourne.
It’s the second time in five years that the family’s home has been destroyed by flames.
Inside the burning home were six children, the oldest just 12.
Thanks to her, they all survived because she heard the fire alarm and ordered her siblings, including three-year-old twins, outside.
Their mother had briefly gone to a neighbour’s house to get help with her mobile phone, but when she returned the house was up in flames.
“She was shaking like a leaf,” neighbour Kylie De Cerff said.
“The fire brigade had some oxygen for her, and then the ambulance took over. It was horrific.”
Worried that some children were still trapped inside the house, neighbours ran towards the fire to check.
“I just jumped the fence straight away,” one neighbour said.
“I just didn’t want any of the kids to be injured.”
By the time firefighters had the flames under control, there was little to salvage from the Melton West home.
It’s the second disaster for this family after their Sunshine home burnt down five years ago.
Firefighters had a hard time getting to the flames because of the proximity of the house next door.
The gap between the houses is so narrow that firefighters could not gain access down the side, a growing problem in new housing estates.
“It was difficult for crews to gain access to the property, but they did a fantastic job in protecting those neighbouring properties from damage,” firefighter Keith Taylor said.
Neighbours have started collecting for the family.
“We were going to take furniture, but we are not sure where they’re going to stay, so at the moment it’s just all clothing and toys for the kids, because they’re quite young,” Ms De Cerff said.