Four children dead after fire tears through Melbourne home

Four children dead after fire tears through Melbourne home
Photo credit: ABC / screenshot

Four children have died after a fire tore through a house in southwest Melbourne.

The blaze broke out in the early hours on Sunday in the suburb of Werribee while seven people, including five children, were inside.

Three of those people - two parents and their eight-year-old son - were able to escape, but four were trapped inside and died. The victims include boys aged 10 and three years old, and girls aged one and six years old.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ashley Ryan from the Victoria Police Crime Department says the three in hospital have a range of injuries. The father's injuries are smoke-related and serious, the mother was treated for smoke inhalation, while the boy had minor injuries.

David Clancy, a Commander from Country Fire Authority, told reporters that by the time fire crews arrived, the blaze had already spread through the house and firefighters couldn't conduct an internal exam.

The roof had also collapsed, making it difficult to get into the house.

"It impeded access and made it too dangerous for firefighters to get in," he said.

"These were particularly very tragic circumstances with four young children who perished in the fire."

Damien Molloy, a Lieutenant at the Werribee Fire Brigade, said the collapsed roof and intensity of the fire made it difficult for crews to access the house at first.

"The distress of the parents and the eight-year-old [also made it] very difficult to get accurate information early on to be able to focus our search areas initially," he said.

By the time emergency services arrived at the scene, Molloy said the fire was "way beyond" anything neighbours could've done to help extinguish the flames. However, they were able to stop the blaze from spreading to other houses.

"It was well beyond anything that a neighbour would be able to assist in without putting themselves in serious danger."

Witnesses told 7News the house fire was so bright they thought it was daytime.

"I thought the sun was out, that's how bright it was," one told the outlet.

"The flames were so tall I could see the flames from around here. We're four blocks away and we could see the flames."