After a catastrophic house fire, the bodies of a mum and her three children were found huddled together in the burnt-out ruins of their home.
Neighbors heard loud screams from the house where Kaoru Okano and her young children were stuck in Melbourne, Australia.
Senior Detective Sergeant Neville Major told reporters that the bodies were discovered in an upstairs bathroom where they were trying to find cover in the city’s Glen Waverley neighborhood during the blaze.
A man who is linked to a family originally from Japan, police say, managed to escape from the inferno with extreme burns.
The officer said: “He also has been burned and taken to hospital. He is actually intubated and therefore unable to assist us with our inquiries.”
He added that the police did not expect to be able “for the next 24 to 48 hours” to speak with the man.
Hours after the fire on Sunday morning, Arson squad officers were still searching the scene as police looked to ascertain the cause of the blaze.
In a statement, Victoria Police said: “Investigators were told that the fire began just after 1.40 a.m. at the Tulloch Grove property.”
“Sadly, a woman and three children were found deceased at the house and are yet to be formally identified.”
Senior Sergeant Major said that all fires are viewed as suspicious by police before we can confirm that they are not.
“It’s tragic, and it seems they were all huddled in the next one together.
Neighbour Alida Soteldo told NCA NewsWire that the disaster had “devastated” her.
“I woke up at 1.30 am with all the noise from the fire trucks and went out and spoke to a couple of residents from that block, which were evacuated from their apartments,” she said.
“They said they woke up with people shouting but no one knew there were any fatalities until this morning on the news.”
After witnesses reported seeing smoke billowing from a two-story townhouse, over 30 firefighters were called to the scene in the southeastern suburb of the city.
Before spreading across the house, it is suspected the inferno started in a downstairs garage.
‘The home sustained significant fire damage.’ Fire Rescue Victoria said in a statement.
“Occupants from neighboring residences were evacuated as a precaution, their properties also inspected for fire damage.”