Police sift through the burnt remains of the house.DUNKELD is in mourning after two young children died, trapped in their burning home as their frantic parents tried to rescue them.
Nanjing Night Net

As police and CFA investigators combed through the blackened wreckage on the historic Devon Park property, about a kilometre off Blackwood Road and 11km south of Dunkeld, there was a numb sense of shock through the community.

Georgia Griffin Wilson, 8, and her brother Kaden, 3, lost their lives in the inferno, which started about 2.45am on Friday.

The flames were so intense their parents Aaron Wilson and Tanya Griffin were unable to break into the children’s bedroom as they screamed in panic.

Paramedics later treated the parents for superficial burns, smoke inhalation and shock before taking them to Hamilton Base Hospital for observation.

Yesterday they were consoled by family and friends.

The family had moved into the farm workers’ house only a few months ago and were well known in the district.

Georgia had been a pupil at Dunkeld Consolidated Primary School and Kaden had attended the local three-year-old kindergarten.

School principal Pat Gleeson told The Standard the whole school community was in shock and classmates were given counselling.

“It’s a very sad day for us,” he said. “The grief will go on for quite a while.”

Two brick chimneys were all that remained of the 80-year-old weatherboard house as a team of police experts from Melbourne sifted through the debris. A shed and car were also destroyed.

Detective Leading Senior Constable Glen Hatton, of the arson and explosives squad, said the fire started from the lounge which separates the parents’ and children’s bedrooms.

The cause is not suspicious and is believed linked to a heater.

He said the parents smelt smoke, realised the house was on fire and ran around to the side bedroom to rescue the children.

However, they were unable to get in the door or windows and the children were unable to get out.

“They heard the children yelling out and tried to get back in to them,” Detective Leading Senior Constable Hatton said.

“After unsuccessfully trying to get in, one of the parents ran across to the other farm house and emergency services were called.

“One parent tried to fight the fire from outside, but the house was totally destroyed.’’

Regional CFA incident controller Henry Barton, of Warrnambool, said 28 firefighters from four brigades turned out to the fire.

“The house was totally involved when brigades arrived and it burnt extremely quickly,” he said.

“It was a very intense fire and the wind pushed it along.

“It took about an hour to bring under control and two to three hours to mop up.”

He said several firefighters knew the victims were emotionally affected.

“Their children went to the same school and kindergarten,” he said.

“They are distraught and have been offered counselling.”

Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said the paramedics who attended the fire scene also knew the victims.

“They have been given peer support,” he said.

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