Akira Garton, mum to Ophelia and Tarrow, twin four-year-old girls who tragically died in a fire near Byron Bay over the weekend, has spoken publicly for the first time since the horrific accident.

“There are no words to describe the immense loss of our dear little Ophelia and sweetest Tarrow. I’m still in immense shock and disbelief. You are so very dearly loved by both parents, eldest sister, family, neighbours and the entire community.

“You will never leave our hearts, sweet angels.”

Garton spoke about what the twins, who were due to start kindergarten next year, were like. They loved picking mulberries near their home in Mullumbimby, and dancing to 90s music. Of their relationship to each other, she said, “They were rarely separated, they were born two months premature with fighting spirits.

“They would be lost in their own world for hours, drawing prolifically and dancing. They loved circus arts and picking mulberry on the local street and were mad for blueberries, papaya and porridge. They looked up to their older sister and always wanted to wear her clothes.

“I’m devastated. It was too early.”

Garton had previously posted on Instagram about her unimaginable loss, writing, “Words cannot express waking up to day three of these beautiful bunnikins not here. No more mumma … no more hands, no more smiles, no more dancing, no more moments like this, happy, so happy,” underneath a photo of her with Ophelia and Tarrow.

The girls suffocated in a fire at a commune in Goonengerry, where their father, James Wright, was spending the weekend with his partner. Older daughter Maitreya was at the commune but was not at the house with her sisters.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that a candle that was left burning on a piano started the fire, emitting toxic fumes that caused the girls to suffocate as they slept early on Sunday morning.

A distressed woman called emergency services at 4am, urging them to hurry up because “the babies can’t breathe.” Tragically, paramedics were unable to save Ophelia and Tarrow.

No charges have been laid, and no family members have been accused of wrongdoing.

Image: Instagram

This article first appeared on Over60.