Jarrod ran inside his neighbour's burning home. He couldn't save all the children.

A neighbour who ran into a burning house in Lalor Park after hearing the cries of young children is being hailed as a hero.

When Jarrod Hawkins heard a "popping" sound on Sunday morning, he initially thought someone was trying to break into his car. Instead, it was something far more sinister.

In a horrific incident, Hawkins' neighbour allegedly started a house fire by throwing a flaming pillow at his partner, per 

However, authorities indicate that this wasn't the sole cause of the fire, as a second explosion subsequently engulfed the property in flames.

As a result, three children are dead.

Two boys, aged two and four, were taken to Westmead Hospital in a critical condition but died a short time later. The body of the third child, believed to be a 10-month-old girl, was found after Fire and Rescue NSW extinguished the fire.

Four other children at the premises were treated at the scene by paramedics.

A nine-year-old girl and three boys aged six, seven and 11 were taken to Westmead Hospital in stable condition. The children's mother was also taken to hospital suffering injuries related to the fire, but is expected to make a "full recovery."

Jarrod Hawkins has been hailed as a hero. Image: ABC News.


"I could see the neighbours' house was on fire," the children's saviour Hawkins told ABC News.

"It sounds silly but I didn't even think about it, I just sprinted over and was smashing down the front door so I could get in."

As soon as Hawkins entered the property, he was engulfed by a thick layer of smoke, but that didn't deter him from trying to save those inside.

"I then heard kids coughing and yelling to my right," he said. "I was on my hands and knees trying to find where I could go."

He discovered one of the children on the floor, coughing, and quickly carried him outside. Returning courageously two more times despite temperatures nearing 700 degrees Celsius, Hawkins attempted to rescue two additional children.


After emergency services arrived at the scene, Hawkins tried to rescue the remaining family members from the back of the house. However, he claims his efforts were hindered by the father, who allegedly started the fire.

"He was definitely intervening, he was not helping the situation," he said. "It is heartbreaking that someone would do that to their kid."

Police praised Hawkins' efforts, crediting his actions to why further life was not lost. 

"He's a hero, he deserves a bloody medal," said a friend, who has known the mother for many years. 

Hawkins also claimed to have spoken to the alleged killer in recent days, saying he "seemed down, not his usual happy self".

He added, "For those kids that have to deal with that for the rest of their lives, It's just not right...Those kids were unreal, very happy, full of energy, just typical kids."

But he isn't seeking praise; instead, Hawkins is focused on helping the family in any way he can, starting a GoFundMe page to help the family get back on their feet after the tragedy.

You can donate directly to the page here.

"We are looking for donations for a very young family that survived a house fire and lost everything they had," reads the page.

"Although they have lost everything we are trying to help them get back on their feet with cloths (sic), housing and general costs. 


"We are grateful for any and all donations. We thank you for your time and donations."

NSW Fire Rescue Superintendent Adam Dewberry said it was a confronting scene. "Going to a house fire you are always expecting the worst and hoping it won't be — but this was pretty confronting, absolute chaos," he told Nine's Weekend Today.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday morning, NSW Police confirmed that the fire is being treated as a domestic violence-related incident, and that a 28-year-old man was under police guard in hospital. His injuries are so severe, however, that his survival is uncertain.

"He's in an induced coma at the moment, being treated for smoke inhalation and other matters that, or other medical issues related to the fire," said Detective Danny Doherty.

"At this stage it does appear that the 28-year-old man is responsible for multiple deaths of young lives that have tragically been taken away," he said, adding that the suspect allegedly tried to prevent rescue efforts from a neighbour and authorities who arrived at the scene.

"There were acts taken to prevent them coming in to offer aid and rescue them. That's what we're alleging at this early stage."

"Homicide squad detectives are taking carriage of this," said Detective Doherty. "We're treating this as a domestic-related homicide, multiple homicide."

Jason Pietruszka from NSW police added, "I can confirm during police attempts to get into the property, those efforts were frustrated by a male inside.


"He's been arrested. He has been conveyed to hospital. He's a 28-year-old male who is known to the people within that premises." Pietruszka also confirmed that the man police have arrested is the father of the deceased children. 

"The mother resided with them as well. We're saying they are a family unit. I won't go into their relationship."

According to witnesses, one of the older children allegedly fought against the man, trying to save their siblings, but was attacked and pinned down.

"Dad tried to kill us," the child later told rescuers, according to Sydney Morning Herald sources.

NSW Premier Chris Minns has also spoken about the incident, saying, "This is horrifying and senseless. These children deserved love and protection and a caring home. Our love and thoughts are with the surviving family members.

"NSW will support them for as long as necessary, as they seek to recover from this unfathomable event. Our thoughts are also with the emergency service workers who fought to save lives last night, and who will also be recovering in their own way after a horrible night."

This article was originally published on July 7, 2024, and has since been updated with new information.

—With AAP.

Feature Image: ABC News/MARK EVANS/AAP.