Two young sisters have died after an electric heater in their bedroom caused a blaze and filled their room with smoke.
The sisters, aged two and three, were sleeping in their Loch Street home in Geelong East, Victoria, when the fire broke out shortly before 8am on Thursday. Police believe a toy fell onto the heater, causing it to catch fire.
The pair were taken to a nearby hospital, but were sadly pronounced dead. A six-month-old baby, who was sleeping in another bedroom, was also taken to hospital for smoke inhalation. She is not in a life-threatening condition.
“It looks like at this stage, tragic set of circumstances has occurred,” Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Guthrie said at a media conference. “At around 8 o’clock, the parents have noticed smoke coming from the front bedroom and in the front bedroom there’s a two and three-year-old who are asleep.”
Guthrie confirmed the girls were asleep when the fire broke out, adding that their parents are devastated.
“It looks like possibly some sort of toy has fallen on a bar heater that was in the room and it has caused the smoke to billow in the room,” he said. “As you can understand, the set of circumstances that has occurred, they’re [the parents] are very traumatised and they’re at the hospital at present.”
Police believe the parents were alerted to fire when they saw smoke and that the fire was contained just to one room.
“The investigation is still ongoing but we believe that at some stage in the morning, someone has come and turned the heater on,” Guthrie said. “It looks like it’s some sort of small electrical bar heater.”
The father went into the room to try and save the children, while police confirmed further investigations would be conducted before the case is referred to the coroner.
It’s also a timely reminder for parents and grandparents to ensure children are safe, particularly when heaters are in use when the weather is cooler.
“Just make sure there is nothing that can fall on any heaters and all the rest of it,” Guthrie said. “Keep heaters well clear and continue to check on them.”