This post deals with death and might be triggering for some readers.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, the bodies of a mother and her three young daughters were found huddled together in the ensuite of a Melbourne townhouse destroyed by fire.
More than 30 firefighters arrived at the Glen Waverley home within six minutes after the fire broke out at about 1:40am, but it was too late for Kaoru Okano and her three girls - aged three, five, and seven.
Only hours before neighbours had noticed the kids arriving home for the night happily licking on ice creams, with the family described by 9News as "wonderful loving people".
Neighbour Kelly Vu described Ms Kikuchi, 38, as a "beautiful mother" who looked after her girls "very well".— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) January 11, 2021
Ms Vu said people in the area were familiar with the family who often rode their bikes around the local lake. #9News https://t.co/lv4eKicXjw
Neighbours have told various media outlets that their husband and father, Hiroyuki Kikuchi, was black with soot and shaking as he tried to dull the flames.
"He was in a panic and was trying to control the fire, and because he was in a panic he was not able to communicate with us," one local told the Herald Sun. "After the (fire) services got here, he started shouting, 'my kids, my kids, they are upstairs'."
Hiroyuki was taken to hospital in a critical but stable condition with severe burns to his back.
Police have confirmed they are treating the fire as 'suspicious', and Hiroyuki remains under police guard in hospital with officers yet to properly interview him. All lines of inquiry remain open.