A WOMAN has been charged with murder and arson over a suspicious house fire that claimed the lives of a young couple and their 19-day-old newborn baby.
Abbey Forrest, 19, India Sohal, 28, and their daughter Ivy were asleep as the blaze tore through the property in Melbourne, Australia in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Abbey Forrest, 19, India Sohal, 28, and their newborn daughter Ivy were killed in a house fire in Melbourne, Australia[/caption]
Emily Forrest visited the scene of the blaze to pay tribute on Friday morning (Pictured left to right: Abbey Forrest, sister Emily Forrest, and their parents)[/caption]
Forty four firefighters attempted to extinguish the blaze for an hour at 3.40am on Wednesday[/caption]
Emergency services were scrambled to the two-storey property in the Cook Point area when it went up in flames at 3.40am.
Forty firefighters spent nearly an hour battling the blaze, which destroyed the townhouse in just three minutes and also damaged two neighbouring houses.
Arson and Explosives Squad detectives have since taken a 46-year-old woman into police custody.
She has been charged with three counts of murder and arson causing death and police believe she is known to one of the parents.
The family had moved into the house just three weeks ago following the birth of baby Ivy, who would have been three weeks old on Friday.
Abbey’s heartbroken sister Emily Forrest visited the scene of the blaze on Friday morning to lay flowers and a toy outside the house.
She told The Age: “It should be the perfect time of their life, and now this awful tragedy has happened.
“She had the biggest, boldest personality. She was great.
“I’ll always cherish the memories that I had growing up with her. She was my only sibling.”
A neighbour woken by his smoke alarms said he had seen a woman in the house “frantically gasping for air” through one of the windows[/caption]
Images from the scene of the fire show the two-storey townhouse completely devastated by the fire[/caption]
Emily said she was grateful to have been able to meet her niece before the tragic incident.
She added: “I came home from a camping trip early and snuck into the hospital and got in a quick little visit despite COVID, and then we had a beautiful family dinner a week or so ago, so we got to meet everybody and our son got to meet his cousin so that was really beautiful.”
Emily has since launched a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for the funeral, describing the family as “beautiful souls” who would be sorely missed.
Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Kennedy said neighbours made a “heroic and brave effort” to rescue the family with a ladder – but they were overwhelmed by the intensity of the flames.
One neighbour involved in the rescue attempt told 7News: “People were yelling out, ‘There’s someone in there. There’s somebody still in there.
“From floor to ceiling there was fire. I probably took two to three steps and that was it, I couldn’t go any further.”
Another neighbour woken by his smoke alarms said he had seen a woman in the house “frantically gasping for air.”
Sgt Kennedy said the cause of the fire is yet to be determined, but it is being treated as suspicious.
He added: “It certainly is being treated as suspicious, predominantly because of the intensity of the fire.
Most read in News
Ex-glamour model 'wins £200K legal battle' after cop filmed her sunbathing naked
BEER WE GO
Brits hit bars after lockdown – as Tier 2 punters wrap up for drinks al fresco
Boris hails boffins as Britain gets jab FIRST & millions will have it by Xmas
HERE WE SNOW!
'Significant' snow TODAY with 4 inches predicted during -10C winter blast
Boy, 13, is one of four kids arrested on suspicion of raping woman in Sheffield
Chilling map shows how Covid spread MONTHS before China admitted existence
“When fire services first got here it was fully engulfed.
“The townhouse was raging, particularly at the front and upstairs … with accidental fires that doesn’t normally occur.”
The woman charged by police is expected back in court in March, according to 9News.
Emergency services were scrambled to the property in the Point Cook area to reports of a two-storey property engulfed in flames[/caption]
Police said the cause of the fire is yet to be determined, but it is being treated as suspicious[/caption]