A young couple who died in a house fire with their newborn baby have been described as an “amazing mum” and a “loving dad” whose life as a family was just beginning.
Abbey Forrest, 19, her 25-year-old partner known as Indi and their baby daughter Ivy have been identified as the family who died in a fire inside their Point Cook townhouse, in Melbourne’s outer west, on Wednesday morning.
Police are still investigating the exact cause of the fire, but are treating it as suspicious.
The townhouse was destroyed by the fire, and two neighbouring properties were also damaged.
Emily Forrest, Abbey’s sister, said the couple were new parents who moved into the townhouse less than three weeks ago.
“They are just a really young happy couple, their life had pretty much just started,” she said.
“It should be the perfect time of their life, and now this awful tragedy has happened.”
Their new daughter would have been three weeks old tomorrow, Ms Forrest said.
Ms Forrest said her sister was an “amazing mum” who took to motherhood like a “duck to water”.
“She was absolutely smitten, she was so over the moon to become a mum, and she did so well adjusting to that,” Ms Forrest said.
Her partner Indi was also a “very loving man” who loved Abbey and his new daughter dearly, Ms Forrest said.
Ms Forrest said Abbey had a big, bold and bright personality, and was “really brave person” who stood by what she said.
“I’ll always cherish the memories that I had growing up with her,” Ms Forrest said.
“Considering we had a four-and-a-half year age gap, we were really close growing up, we grew up riding ponies and always running amok.”
Neighbour hoping to move after fire fears
Point Cook resident Jade Bartolo, who lives in an identical townhouse nearby, said she was waiting for her partner to get home from night shift early on Wednesday morning when she heard someone screaming “fire!”.
She rolled up her garage door, grabbed an axe and ran to help, then saw someone in a window on the top floor screaming for help.
“They were trying to wind the window up, but because there’s chain on the window, they could obviously only open the window this much, and they were trying to half hang out the window and we were trying to [help them],” she said.
“Then my partner rocked up and he was trying to throw the axe at the window, to break the window for them to get out.”
Ms Bartolo said there was no smoke, then within minutes the whole room went black.
“They were screaming ‘help help’, then he [my partner] said he heard them take their last gasp of air and then just drop,” she said.
“We broke the window about 10 seconds after that, and it was just too late.”
Ms Bartolo said the windows on the top floor of the townhouse could open only a small amount, and in some rooms were so high you would need to climb on something to reach them.
Her and her partner are figuring out their next moves and have started looking at other places to live.
“It was pretty sad to see and hear them trying to get help, and we couldn’t help them. We couldn’t get them down, we had no ladder. We did the best we could in the time we had,” she said.