NSW authorities have made a desperate plea to the public to make sure people have a working smoke alarm in their house after a devastating Sydney fire claimed the lives of three people including a 10-year-old boy on the weekend.
Emergency services were called to the home in the southwest suburb of Hinchinbrook at about 5.40am on Sunday.
Two women – believed to be aged in their 40s and 60s – were killed in the house fire with officers revealing late on Sunday morning that a 10-year-old boy had also succumbed to his injuries.
Five other people including two firefighters were rushed to hospital from the scene of the overnight blaze.
Fire and Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Megan Stiffler said one of the responders was injured after falling six metres while trying to rescue the home's occupants.
"One female firefighter has been released from hospital after suffering a small electric shock on the window sill as she was making entry," she said.
"And we also had a male firefighter who, as he made entry into this raging fire, fell six metres and had an injury. He is currently under care at hospital."
Another man from the property, aged in his 40s, is in a critical condition in hospital.
NSW has seen 13 house fire deaths this winter
NSW firies responded to a huge number of house fires in the early days of winter, with residents urged to check power boards and electrical heaters for any potential hazards.
"In the first two weeks of winter, we were up to about 84 house fires,” Superintendent Adam Dewberry from Fire and Rescue NSW told Yahoo News Australia last month. "We’re trending too high," he said.
Sadly, that trend hasn't abated.
Speaking on Sunday, Ms Stiffler said it's been a horror winter for fire fighters in the state – something that's "really having an impact on our people".
"This has been a tragic start to our winter fire safety campaign," she said.
"From June 1 we have had 500 house fires occur in New South Wales. We have lost 13 lives due to home fires this year, and that's nine more than the whole of the winter season last year.
"Nearly 50 per cent of all of those house fires didn't have working smoke alarms. I cannot stress how important it is for people to hear this message: A working smoke alarm saves lives," she said.
Investigators are still waiting for a safety "all clear" to re-enter the badly damaged property in Sydney.
Ms Stiffler said it was too early to determine if the Hinchinbrook residence has a functional smoke alarm or not but reiterated the importance of making sure you have one in your home.
"The message you must hear today as you listen to the news is that you need to have a working smoke alarm in your home and save your family," she implored.
The incident will be investigated in full and referred to the coroner, police said.
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