Inseparable until the end: How twin girls, 3, huddled together holding hands as they died in a horror house fire after locking their mum outside – as more chilling details about the inferno emerge
Twin girls huddled together holding hands as they were killed in a ferocious house with their devastated mother powerless to save them after she was locked outside.
Aisha and Lailani died inside their family’s housing commission home at Batlow in southern NSW on Monday in a tragedy that has left the tight-knit community reeling.
Their mother Tanyka Ford, 29, had spotted the three-year-olds playing with a burning pillow beside a log fire when she snatched it from the girls and took it outside.
The twins playfully locked the door behind their mother.
Within four minutes flames soared four-metres high, engulfing the house as Ms Ford and neighbours desperately tried to force their way inside the home.
Police said Ms Ford and her and five-year-old son Dominic could do nothing but watch from the footpath.
The sisters, who are believed to have died from smoke inhalation, were found unconscious and holding hands in the front room.
Riverina Police District Commander Bob Noble said Strike Force Edmondson would be investigating the tragedy and police had an ‘open mind’ about how it unfolded.
The girl’s aunt Tammy Dubois, 39, said her sister-on-law was screaming at the twins to unlock the door because ‘there must have been something else burning in the front room’, The Daily Telegraph reported.
‘The girls couldn’t speak, they had their own special language, they adored each other, they were found in the front room huddled holding each other’s hand,’ she said.
‘Our hearts are broken, my brother Geoffrey is beside himself, he was asked to identify their bodies at hospital today but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He doesn’t want to be here.’
She said Ms Ford was desperately trying to break into the windows while Dominic watched on and cried for help.
Emergency crews eventually arrived and retrieved the girls whose ‘heads were flopping’. They were unable to be saved.
‘Tanyka is covered in cuts and scratches from trying to break through windows to get to the girls. She loved those girls, her eyes are red raw from crying,’ the devastated aunt said.
She described the girls as ‘wild, little Tomboys’ who loved playing in the dirt and spoke a special language only they understood.
Their horrific deaths have sparked heartbreak across Batlow, with the community still recovering from the devastating bushfires earlier this year.
Mr Noble said the strike force will be ‘looking at everything right now’ as they begin their investigation into the cause of fire.
He said ‘it is not impossible that the door was deadlocked’ at the time of the girls’ deaths.
A GoFundMe page has since launched by the children’s uncle Levi Ford who wrote ‘anything no matter how small will be appreciated’.
‘My sister tragically lost her three-year-old twin daughters in a house fire, which claimed not only the lives of these two young children but also their home and belongings,’ Mr Ford wrote.
‘Her son has lost all his belongings including toys and clothing.
‘I know how tough times are right now, I’m making a go fund me to help with clothing, food and other items that may be needed to help her get back on her feet and with funeral costs.’