Neighbours who tried to save a young family as their home burned have revealed they were woken by the sounds of screams and glass shattering.
“The first thing I heard was glass breaking … and the smoke alarm,” neighbour Tanika Hall told Nine News.
Another resident described the frightening noises she heard as the family home in Singleton became engulfed in fire, killing three young children.
“I was woken up to screams and there was banging, you could hear things exploding,” she said.
One neighbour, Braden, told Nine News about entering the burning home to try and rescue the three children trapped inside, before the heat from the inferno made it impossible.
“We kicked the door in after getting the mother and that out…went to as far as the kitchen and then a hot blaze pushed us back out and we were on our hands and knees and couldn’t see nothing,” he said.
Five-year-old twins Scarlett and Matylda were rescued but died later in hospital. Their 11-year-old brother Blake died in the fire.
Mother Kara Atkins was taken to hospital and remains in a critical condition, while her eight-year-old daughter, Bayley, is reportedly stable but in shock.
Hunter Valley Police District Commander Chad Gillies praised the actions of those who rushed to help, saying the tragedy could have been much worse.
“I’d like to emphasise the heroic nature of the four residents in the nearby vicinity that tried to assist the people inside the house,” he told media.
Investigations into the cause of the blaze are still underway, but it’s believed a fireplace in the front room of the home is being looked at as a possible cause.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the Atkins family.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.