A one-year-old girl has tragically died and her mother and three-year-old brother are being treated for burns after the family became trapped in a horror house fire in southern New South Wales.
Emergency services raced to the three-storey unit block on Mowatt Street in Queanbeyan’s East at around 2.45pm on Monday to find flames shooting out of windows from a unit on the second floor.
The situation rapidly escalated into a dramatic rescue mission after authorities learned that a mother and her two small children were still inside the room, surrounded by flames and unable to get out.
The 22-year-old woman and her three-year-old son were eventually plucked to safety from a burning balcony.
Both mother and son are believed to have been burnt in the blaze.
Neighbour Kenny Cameron recalled to 7 News the frantic moment he tried to save the woman and her two children, but was forced back by fierce flames and clouds of toxic smoke.
He told 7 News he was forced to watch on in horror as they woman tried to escape.
“She was screaming at me,” Kenny told 7 News. “I tried to help her find her baby, but I couldn’t open the door up. There was just that much black toxic smoke.”
“She looked out the window and (the fire) just exploded and it come towards her.”
It’s understood the woman suffered serious burns to a large portion of her body, while her three-year-old son escaped with less serious injuries.
Both were rushed to Canberra Hospital.
Tragically, fire fighters found the body of the woman’s one-year-old daughter inside the unit after the fire had been extinguished.
A crime scene was established at the address while investigations into the cause of the fire were carried out.
Three police officers were also treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.
A report will be prepared for the Coroner.