Neighbours tried to use axe to save woman from fatal blaze
Neighbours say they tried to use an axe in a desperate attempt to break a woman free from a horror house fire in Melbourne's south-west which killed two people.
The victims were found dead inside the Point Cook townhouse after a blaze tore through the Totem Way property about 3.40am today.
They are yet to be formally identified, however one is confirmed to be a man who had reportedly only lived at the property for a few weeks.
A couple who evacuated the property told 9News they tried to save the trapped woman, who was standing in the window of the burning second storey home, by breaking the glass with an axe, but they could not get to her.
"We saw a lady and she was frantically like gasping for air," the neighbour said.
"We tried everything. We smashed the garage door in, we opened up her garage door leading into the house.
"It was just engulfed in flames. And we broke her window to try to get her out but after that it was just silent."
The neighbours woke to the sound of their smoke alarm just before 4am to find the house next door engulfed in flames.
The couple tried to flee with their baby in their arms when they stopped to try and save the woman.
Arson and Explosives Squad detectives are investigating after the double-storey home was left gutted by the blaze and two others were damaged.
"Police are yet to establish if there is anyone else inside the property and arson chemists will continue examining the scene for some time," Leading Senior Constable Natalie Dean said.
Fire Rescue Victoria in a statement said the structural integrity of the townhouse in the middle, where it is believed the fire began, was compromised.
More than 40 firefighters battled the blaze at the scene, with eight firefighting appliances, including aerial and rescue units, bringing it under control in an hour.
"Firefighters arrived to find one double-storey townhouse fully involved with the fire spreading to the units either side," the FRV said.
"FRV's response was quickly escalated as firefighters wearing breathing apparatus commenced attacking the fire."
A community advice message was issued, advising people in the area to stay indoors, shut their windows and switch off any reverse cycle air conditioning units due to a large amount of smoke.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.