Probe intensifies into blaze that killed man, five boys

A mourner leaves tributes at the scene of a house fire that killed six people in Queensland.

A mourner leaves tributes at the scene of a house fire that killed six people in Queensland. Photo: AAP

A shattered Queensland community grieving the loss of a man and five young boys in a devastating fire has been offered solace by the premier in a visit to the island.

Annastacia Palaszczuk joined a high-ranking convoy of the state’s emergency services to meet the firefighters, volunteers and neighbours who were first responders at the scene of the fatal house fire on Russell Island early on Sunday.

Investigators continue to comb through the charred debris of the Queenslander to determine the cause of the horrific blaze that killed 34-year-old Wayne Godinet and five young boys, all aged under 12.

Police are keeping an “open mind” as they continue to gather evidence to identify the source of the intense fire as the distraught island community mourns the tragedy.

The premier and police commissioner Katarina Carroll met the people who were the first responders to the fire, which destroyed the family home and spread to two adjacent properties, before being brought under control.

They also visited with the islanders who rallied to unite the tiny community, offering comfort, donations and support for the people struggling to cope.

The children’s mother, Samantha Stephenson, 28, survived the inferno after fleeing the two-storey home as it was engulfed in flames.

After being released from hospital, Ms Stephenson has returned to the island, where she continues to recover with friends and family.

Witnesses reported seeing her former partner Mr Godinet running back into the burning building to try to save the boys as their mother screamed for help, telling first responders her family was trapped inside the home.

The deadly blaze has left the small Moreton Bay community in shock and looking for answers as they pay tribute to the children aged 11, 10, twin four-year-olds and a three-year-old.

Neighbours treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns continue to struggle with the loss of five young lives.

“They were beautiful boys,” a neighbour told AAP.

“They had a trampoline out the front and they would spend hours out there.

“They also built a cubby house in the bush – we would see them coming and going.”

Detective Superintendent Andrew Massingham said police continued to probe the fire, confirming some elements of the tragedy required closer scrutiny.

“No determination has been made at this stage as to whether this fire is suspicious or not,” he said on Monday.

Det Supt Massingham said officers had previously been called to the house and Mr Godinet was known to police.

He said they were investigating whether Mr Godinet was allowed to be at the house, and that previous calls to the address were under review.

Police said a 21-year-old woman also escaped the blaze.

The women were released from hospital on Sunday night.


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