The heartbroken mother of two twin girls killed in a house fire in the South West Slopes region of NSW on Monday has shared an emotional message online.
Twin girls Aisha and Lailani Ford, 3, both died in the house fire in Batlow after reportedly dead-bolting their mother outside as she got rid of a burning pillow.
Aisha and Lailani had been playing with a pillow next to a wood burner in the front room of the family’s home when the smell of smoke caught the attention of their mother Tanyka.
Tanyka said on social media she was “gutted and hate myself for not being able to help more”.
“I don't know how I will ever be able to comprehend how this could have happened please let this be a terrible mistake please tell me my babies okay,” she said.
“Sadly as much as I pray nothing I say or do can bring back my babies.”
The grieving mother went on to thank her friends and other family members of the community who were offering their support since the tragedy.
“The pain is unbearable. Thank you all for everything you have done big or small. It’s all so very much appreciated.”
Aisha and Lailani died after being pulled out from inside the burning property by the Fire and Rescue NSW crews, who forced entry into the burning home.
Superintendent Bob Noble from the Riverina Police District said officers were going to investigate the case with an “open mind”.
Emergency crews were left with no choice but to force their way into the home through the dead bolted door after responding to reports of a house fire at about 11 am on Monday.
The twins were found huddled together, both unconscious and holding each other’s hands.
“There must have been something else burning in the front room, Tanyka was screaming at them to unlock the door but they didn’t, the poor darlings would have been scared,” their aunt, Tammy Dubois explained to The Daily Telegraph.
“Our hearts are broken.”
Their mother and brother, six, were standing outside of the home at the time of the fire, according to police.
Supt Noble says investigators will look into all possible sources of ignition, including the fireplace that was burning on the day.
“These are two little babies that lived a short life, and they died suddenly, unexpectedly and in horrific circumstances,” Supt Noble said on Tuesday.
“It’s apparent the fire spread quite quickly as they quite often can … You’ve got vulnerable children in that situation, the outcome is quite often catastrophic.”
“The mother spoke to investigators last night. She was traumatised but did assist investigators in so far as she was able to,” Supt Noble said.
Along with the mother being asked questions, was her son, neighbours, first responders and the twins’ father, who was away at the time.
He described the Fire and Rescue NSW officers who pulled the girls out of the house as “heroic”.
He added that the family, the Batlow community and first responders were “emotionally shaken”.
“There is a community that is severely affected by the deaths of these two young people, they were babies, they were twin girls, and it’s a community that’s been through the devastation of recent times with bushfires,” he said.
“The people of Batlow are doing it very hard.”
This article originally appeared on Over60.