Dad allegedly prevented rescue of house fire

‘Chaos’: Three kids dead in horror house fire
‘Chaos’: Three kids dead in horror house fire

A father deliberately stopped rescuers getting into a burning Sydney house which killed three children, police have alleged.

Homicide Squad Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty alleged the 28-year-old father intentionally kept police and neighbours out of the house while the kids were inside.

“At this stage it does appear the 28-year-old is responsible for multiple deaths of young lives that have been tragically taken away,” Detective Superintendent Doherty told reporters on Sunday.

“We’re alleging the 28-year-old man took actions to prevent the young people inside being rescued.”

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Neighbours have been left shocked by the fire in Freeman Street, Lalor Park, Sydney. Picture: NewsWire / Simon Bullard

Two boys aged two and four were pulled from the fire in the house in Freeman St, Lalor Park in western Sydney early on Sunday morning, but they could not be revived.

Fire and Rescue NSW found the body of a 10-month-old girl inside the house after they extinguished the fire.

The incident is being investigated as a domestic violence, multiple homicide incident.

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Police and fire investigators are combing the scene. Picture: NewsWire / Simon Bullard

There was no apprehended violence order in place against the man, police say.

Detective Superintendent Doherty said the man was “not adversely known” to police, nor is he before the court for any other matters.

“These types of matters are just devastating. These are tragic circumstances,” he said.

“These are really extraordinary circumstances. We hope the community comes together, galvanises and helps the family.

“There’s more good than bad in the world. Tragedy usually brings out the best in people.”

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Neighbours, like Brett Cramp, are shocked. Picture: NewsWire / Simon Bullard
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The fire and deaths are being treated as a family violence incident. Picture: NewsWire / Simon Bullard

Four other children were treated at the scene before being taken to hospital in a stable condition.

Their 29-year-old mother is also in hospital being treated for smoke inhalation.

She is not accused of any wrongdoing.

The man remains in hospital in an induced coma and under police guard.

No charges have been laid.

He is being treated for smoke inhalation and other injuries from the fire.

NSW Police Acting Superintendent Jason Pietruszka said the mother and the other children were expected to make a full recovery.

“It’s devastating there’s no other word for it. It’s devastating for the community, the other kids who go to school with the children,” Superintendent Pietruszka said.

Neighbours and police were “quite heroic” trying to get into the house, he said.

Homicide Squad Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty says every available support will be offered to the family. Picture: Supplied
Homicide Squad Detective Superintendent Danny Doherty says every available support will be offered to the family. Picture: Supplied

The actions of a neighbour saved more lives from being lost, the Superintendent said.

The Homicide Squad is in charge of the investigation. Fire investigators, including an accelerant detecting dog, were at the scene on Sunday.

Emergency services were called to the home in Freeman Street, Lalor Park about 1am on Sunday.

“Going to a house fire, you’re always expecting the worst, hoping it won’t be but this was confronting, absolute chaos,” NSW Fire and Rescue Superintendent Adam Dewberry said.

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Lalor Park residents Graham and Elizabeth Cocks say the community is rattled. Picture: NewsWire / Simon Bullard

“They got in, commenced their fire fighting operations, got in and did that search, got those two children out, handed them over to paramedics who then continued with that emergency medical treatment.”

He said crews faced “superheated” conditions, with the likely temperature in the home of between 600 and 700 degrees, while looking for the children.

“They can’t see … they’re getting through under extreme, superheated conditions, while looking for those children,” Superintendent Dewberry said.

Superintendent Adam Dewberry says conditions inside the house during the fire were extreme. Picture: Today
Superintendent Adam Dewberry says conditions inside the house during the fire were extreme. Picture: Today

“There was heavy fire activity, the flames venting out through both front windows, getting up over the roof line,” he said.

“They got in under those fire conditions, started to knock down the fire and conducted a search under very extreme conditions.”

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Four other children and two adults are in hospital being treated for smoke inhalation. . Picture: NewsWire / Simon Bullard.

Detective Doherty said the investigation would take some time.

“At the moment, it’s early in the investigation. Homicide squad detectives … will have a lot to do today and ongoing weeks in relation to putting together what happened,” he said.

Womensline: 1800 811 811
MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
National Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence Counselling Service 24hr helpline: 1800 RESPECT
Lifeline: 13 11 44
Family Violence Crisis and Support Service: 1800 608 122
Emergency/Police: 000