Australia

Australia fire: Three children killed in house blaze

A still of TV footage of the house fire Image copyright NINE NEWS
Image caption The cause of the fire is not yet known

Three children have died in a house fire in the Australian state of New South Wales, police say.

Firefighters were called to the home in Singleton, 200km (120 miles) north-west of Sydney, at about 03:30 local time on Wednesday (17:30 GMT Tuesday).

The body of a boy, 11, was found inside the house. Two sisters, both aged five, were pulled from the house but died in hospital.

The cause of the blaze is not yet known, authorities said.

Neighbours were able to rescue another girl, eight, and a woman, 31, who were both treated for smoke inhalation. The woman also suffered burns.

"Our fire crews arrived to find the neighbours trying to assist with hoses," said New South Wales Police Supt Chad Gillies.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Neighbours have left flowers and tributes at the house

One neighbour, Brock Forbes, said he had tried to douse the fire.

"Me and my family just woke up from a big bang and [we heard] just smashing and screaming, so we ran out and grabbed the hose," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Neighbours said six people had lived in the home, Australia's Nine News reported.

"When it is deemed safe to do so, police and fire investigators will examine the home to identify where and how the fire started," the police force said in a statement.

Supt Gillies said heating and fireplace arrangements within the home would form part of the investigation. Fire crews had heard smoke detectors upon their arrival, he added.

Police said they would prepare a report for a coroner.

Singleton is located in the Hunter Valley, a popular wine and tourism region.

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