Flowers, toys and cards have been left outside what remains of a Melbourne home where four children died in a fire.
The children – two girls aged one and six, and two boys aged three and 10 – died after a fire engulfed a Mantello Drive home in Werribee, in Melbourne’s outer-west, early on Sunday.
A fifth child, an eight-year-old boy, has been discharged from hospital, while his parents, aged 45 and 38, remain at The Alfred in a stable condition.
On Monday, dozens of tributes were left outside the home, which was gutted by the fire.
They included flowers, cards and notes, teddy bears and a Thomas the Tank Engine toy set.
“Forever young,” a note read.
Earlier, Werribee fire brigade Lieutenant Damien Molloy said when crews arrived at the property it was “very well alight”.
“Fire had already broken through the roof and was already coming out the front door,” he said on Sunday.
Lieutenant Molloy said crews were aware the children were trapped inside the house, but the intensity of the blaze made it difficult to find them.
“With the roof already being compromised and the tiles collapsing, it was unsafe for our members to be able to proceed initially,” he said.
“With the distress of the parents and eight-year-old, it was difficult to get accurate information early on to focus our search areas.”
Friends and family have told of their grief at the children’s deaths. Among them is Marie Pisua, who provided family day care services for the family.
She spoke through a friend, who translated her words.
“She can’t believe it because she was with them last Friday and they took a picture at the library and yesterday [the fire] happened, so she’s very emotional,” the friend told the ABC on Ms Pisua’s behalf.
Robert Deagan, who lives next door to the family’s house, tried to help extinguish the blaze with his backyard hose.
“It was devastating what happened, we’re still feeling it as well,” he said.
“It’s been very hard on the whole neighbourhood. Situations like this, I guess communities do get together and help each other where they can.”
Arson and explosives squad detectives are investigating the cause of the blaze.