Six dead in ‘tragic’ house fire in Australia’s Queensland

SYDNEY (Reuters): Five boys and their father were killed after fire ripped through a house in Australia’s Queensland state early on Sunday, police said.

The man’s wife, mother of the boys, escaped unharmed from the property on Russell Island, a small community about 60 km (40 miles) southeast of Brisbane, said police Superintendent Mat Kelly.

“She’s terribly emotionally distressed at the moment,” Kelly told reporters in the nearby town of Redland Bay, adding that the woman had “lost her entire family”.

“This is truly tragic. These are young boys that could have become men into the future, and a man has lost his life as well,” he said.

Queensland Fire and Rescue said the house had collapsed due to the fire and some nearby residences were affected.

Nine people were treated at the scene, with three taken to hospital, Queensland Ambulance Service said. At least 20 fire fighters battled the blaze, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

Investigations were underway to determine the cause of the fire which was not thought to be suspicious, police said.