Heroic neighbours who helped to save a mother and daughter from a tragic house fire in the Hunter Valley have revealed how they desperately tried to reach the remaining children as flames engulfed the property.
A fire broke out at the Singleton home in New South Wales in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with flames quickly spreading throughout the property. Brayden Rogers, his partner Deanna Stolzenburg and fellow neighbour Matisse Maskey were just a number of courageous community members to brave the inferno in hopes of rescuing the young family, but sadly were only able to make it to mum Kara Atkins and her eight-year-old daughter Bayley, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Twins sisters Matylda and Scarlett were pulled unconscious from their smoke-filled rooms by emergency services crews who smashed through windows to reach the girls. The five-year-olds were rushed to hospital but sadly could not be saved, while their 11-year-old brother Blake didn’t make it out of the house alive. His body was later retrieved from the home.
Residents in the NSW town of Singleton are in mourning after a fire ripped through a home in the early hours of this morning, claiming three children, including 5-year-old twins. A @gofundme has now been set up to help the family. https://t.co/gRIJPF2JUi @ChrisReason7 #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/YwoJWkwaRL
— 7NEWS Australia (@7NewsAustralia) June 26, 2019
Rogers has now spoken about the devastating loss in an interview with 7 News, describing how everything inside the house was exploding as he and his fellow neighbours attempted to rescue the family.
While Stolzenburg and Maskey pulled Kara and Bayley from a window at the back of the property, Rogers entered the house looking for the other three children before the intensity of the flames forced him to retreat.
“We kicked the door in after getting the mother out,” he recalled. “We were on our hands and knees and couldn’t see nothing. As I said, I couldn’t go any further than the laundry, it was just too hot and I couldn’t see anything.”
Meanwhile, the family’s cousin Gary Bates told The Daily Telegraph eight-year-old Bayley is yet to find out her siblings did not survive the fire.
“I’ve just spoken to her grandmother and she said she is sitting up in hospital watching TV, she doesn’t know what’s going on, she doesn’t know she’s lost her family, she doesn’t know she has lost her brother and sisters,” he told the publication.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) June 25, 2019
The tragedy has rocked the small NSW town, with community members rallying together to support the family. Resident Caitlyn Stemmer has launched a GoFundMe page in hopes of raising funds to help the family rebuild.
Over $110,000 has been donated to the family so far with a goal to reach $150,000.
“In the early hours of Wednesday the 26th of June 2019 Chris and Kara’s family home was devastated by fire, claiming the lives of three of their children, Matylda and Scarlett, twins aged 5-years-old and Blake aged 11-years-old.
“A GoFundMe has been started to raise funds to help the family through this horrible time, with funeral costs etc. Their 8-year-old sister Bayley and their mother Kara survived the inferno, the family will need to rebuild their lives and home, any help will be forever appreciated.”