'Horrifying, senseless': Three children killed in fire allegedly trapped by father

‘Horrifying and senseless’: Three children killed in fire allegedly trapped by father

Police in Lalor Park

A father is believed to have intentionally trapped seven children and their mother inside their burning home in Sydney’s West on Sunday night in what police have described as a “domestic homicide”.

Rather than saving his children in the early hours of Sunday morning, the man allegedly pulled children back into the burning home and got in the way of neighbours and police attempting to rescue the family.

The children killed include two boys aged two and five, and their 10-month-old baby sister.

Four other children and their mother were taken to hospital from their home in Lalor Park, including a nine-year-old girl and three boys aged four, seven and eleven. Their identities cannot be revealed for legal reasons.

“It does appear that the 28-year-old man is responsible for multiple deaths of young lives that have been tragically taken away,” Danny Doherty, homicide squad commander told media on Sunday. “That’s why we’re all here working together to try and get answers.”

He alleges the man “took certain actions” to prevent emergency services and others from rescuing the children.

“We allege this 28-year-old man’s actions are directly the cause of the deaths of these three young people.”

That 28-year-old father was taken to hospital suffering from burns and smoke inhalation, he remains in a coma and is expected to be charged once he wakes up.

Acting Superintendent Jason Pietruszka confirmed with media that “during police attempts to get into the property, those efforts were frustrated by a male inside.”

“That male has been arrested … He is a 28-year-old man known to those affected.”

“With a building on fire, police approached as did a neighbour, they were heroic in what they did trying to get entry.”

He said a neighbour tried to assist and believes those actions prevented further lives from being lost.

“The man we have arrested is the father of the deceased children … They lived together as a family unit.”

Police confirmed four children are being treated for injuries related to the father. He said they are believed to not have serious physical injuries. Their mother is also being treated in hospital.

NSW Premier Chris Minns described the event as “horrifying and senseless”.

“These children deserved a loving home with safety and security. Instead, they are gone.”

Minns said NSW will support the family for as long as necessary and also shared thoughts for the emergency service workers who fought to save lives and will be recovering in their own way.

Fire and rescue emergency services described it as a tragic and challenging incident. Crews arrived within six minutes of the 000 calls being made, with the further crew arriving within fifteen minutes.

Police said the father has no apprehended violence orders or ongoing court matters, nor any notable criminal history. But the Sydney Morning Herald reports police sources saying officers had conducted a “welfare check” on the home just last week, where the family told police they didn’t need assistance.

If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, text 0458 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au for online chat and video call services.

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