Three young children and one man were killed on Wednesday in a horrific car fire that was declared a crime scene by the police in the northeastern Australian city of Brisbane.
Detective Inspector Mark Thompson of the Brisbane police said a woman who was also involved in the deadly blaze was in the hospital with critical injuries. He told reporters Wednesday that the three children and the two adults were all “known to each other.”
The investigation was still in its infancy, he said, adding that the family members of those killed still needed to be notified. “Therefore it would be inappropriate for me to go into the detail of how these people know each other,” he said.
All three children were under the age of 10, he said.
The morning blaze in the quiet streets of the suburb of Camp Hill shook residents, with some recounting in news reports that they had tried to extinguish the fire but were beaten back by its ferocity.
The newspaper The Australian reported that witnesses had said they saw a white car moving while on fire. Some said they heard a woman inside yelling, “He’s poured petrol on me.”
One witness told the newspaper that residents stopped the vehicle by piling wood in its path, and that the woman then fell out and was “rolling on the footpath in flames.”
Inspector Thompson told reporters, “It will be a horrific thing for police and emergency services to deal with in the coming days.”
He would not say whether the police were treating the deaths as a murder-suicide attempt.
“How the fire actually occurred has not been ascertained at the moment,” he said. “For us to call it a murder-suicide or an accident is not appropriate at the moment.”