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Family of three found dead in ‘suspicious’ house fire

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

An infant is the third body found in the remains of a deadly house fire in Point Cook police are treating as suspicious.

The body of a baby has been found in the ashes of a home in Melbourne's south-west, bringing the death toll from the blaze to three.

The family of three was found dead inside the Point Cook townhouse after a feocious fire tore through the Totem Way property about 3.40am today.

Distressed neighbours fleeing home next door said they used an axe in a desperate attempt to free a woman from inside the house but were unable to get to her.

"We saw a lady and she was frantically like gasping for air," neighbour Jemil said.

"I don't think she had the energy to scream, she was just trying to breath.

"We tried everything. We smashed the garage door in, we opened up her garage door leading into the house.

"It was just engulfed in flames. And we broke her window to try to get her out but after that it was just silent."

Jemil fled his own home with his five month old and partner.

"Our front yard was just in flames so we had to come through the rear, the garage - it was bloody horrifying."

The family is yet to be formally identified and believed to have only been living in the area a short time.

One of the victims is confirmed to be a man who had reportedly only lived at the property for a few weeks.

The neighbours woke to the sound of their smoke alarm just before 4am to find the house next door engulfed in flames.

"I just feel sick to the stomach knowing there was someone in that house ... its pretty terrifying," Jemil said.

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Arson and Explosives Squad detectives are investigating after the double-storey home was left gutted by the blaze and two others were damaged.

Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Kennedy said the house fire was being treated as suspicious.

"We've confirmed tragically located the bodies of two adult deceased persons the premises upstairs," he said before the baby was found.

"It certainly is being treated as suspicious, prominently because of the intensity of the fire."

Detective Senior Sargent Kennedy described rescue efforts from neighbours as "very heroic and brave".

"One of the neighbours says he used a ladder to try and get upstairs, but they couldn't because of the intensity of the flames," he said.

"Sadly they did their best, but the fire took hold and nothing could be done."

Fire Rescue Victoria in a statement said the structural integrity of the townhouse in the middle, where it is believed the fire began, was compromised.

More than 40 firefighters battled the blaze at the scene, with eight firefighting appliances, including aerial and rescue units, bringing it under control in an hour.

"Firefighters arrived to find one double-storey townhouse fully involved with the fire spreading to the units either side," the FRV said.

"FRV's response was quickly escalated as firefighters wearing breathing apparatus commenced attacking the fire."

A community advice message was issued, advising people in the area to stay indoors, shut their windows and switch off any reverse cycle air conditioning units due to a large amount of smoke.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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Source: 9News

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