IDENTIFIED: Parents and 19-day-old newborn who perished in blaze as helpless neighbours looked on


The victims of a devastating blaze that destroyed a home in Melbourne’s southwest have been identified as a young family-of-three.

Abbey Forrest, 19, her partner Inda Sohal, also 19, and their 19-day-old daughter Ivy were asleep upstairs in their Point Cook townhouse when it went up in flames at about 3.40am on Wednesday.

The couple were confirmed dead later that morning, but Ivy’s body was not found in what was left of the three-bedroom, two-storey home until later that day.

In a fundraiser for the family, Abbey’s sister Emily described the couple and their little girl as “beautiful souls” who would be sorely missed.

“In the early hours of Wednesday, December 2nd, a house fire in Point Cook claimed the lives of my 19-year-old sister, her loving partner and their almost three-week-old daughter,” she wrote.

Neighbours desperately attempted to save the 19-year-old couple and their baby daughter, but all three perished in the flames.
Neighbours desperately attempted to save the 19-year-old couple and their baby daughter, but all three perished in the flames. Credit: 7NEWS/AAP

“I’m raising money to help with the cost of funerals and memorials for all three of these beautiful souls who had their lives tragically cut short.

“Any help is greatly appreciated.”

‘Three beautiful souls’

The cause of the fire is also yet to be determined but it is being treated as suspicious.

“It certainly is being treated as suspicious, predominantly because of the intensity of the fire,” Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Kennedy said.

“When fire services first got here it was fully engulfed. The townhouse was raging, particularly at the front and upstairs ... (and) with accidental fires that doesn’t normally occur.”

Arson and explosive detectives believe an accelerant may have been used and are investigating a mattress that was found on the floor in the downstairs area of the home that was seemingly slept on in recent days.

‘Frantically gasping for air’

Kennedy added that neighbours made a “heroic and brave effort” to rescue the occupants, including one who used a ladder but was overwhelmed by the intensity of the flames.

“People were yelling out, ‘There’s someone in there. There’s somebody still in there,’” a man who broke down the garage door in a bid to assist told 7NEWS.

“From floor to ceiling there was fire. I probably took two to three steps and that was it, I couldn’t go any further.”

Images from the scene of the fire.
Images from the scene of the fire. Credit: 7NEWS

One neighbour who was woken by his own smoke alarms told 7NEWS he had seen a woman in the home’s window “frantically gasping for air”.

“We tried everything, we didn’t know what else to do really, we couldn’t run into the house,” he said.

“We just threw an axe through the window and broke it hoping she would climb out and one of us would catch her.

“I don’t think she had the energy to scream she was just trying to breathe.”

- with AAP

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