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Bodies of mum and three kids found huddled together after devastating house fire

The bodies of a mum and her three children have been discovering huddled together in the burnt-out remains of their home following a devastating house fire.

Neighbours reported hearing screaming from the house in Melbourne, Australia where Kaoru Okano and her young kids were trapped.

Detective Senior Sergeant Neville Major told reporters the bodies were found in an upstairs bathroom where they had tried to find shelter during the blaze in the Glen Waverley area of the city.

A man, who police say is related to the family originally from Japan, managed to escape the inferno with serious burns.

The officer said: "He himself has been burned and taken to hospital. He is currently intubated and unable to assist us with our inquiries."

He added that police didn't expect to be able to speak with the man "for the next 24 to 48 hours".

Arson squad detectives were still searching the scene hours after the fire on Sunday morning as police look to determine the cause of the blaze.

In a statement, Victoria Police said: "Investigators have been told the fire started in the Tulloch Grove property just after 1.40am.

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"Sadly, a woman and three children have been located deceased at the residence and are yet to be formally identified."

Senior Sergeant Major said police treat all fires as suspicious "until we can determine that they're not".

He went on: "It's very tragic and it appears they had all been huddled together in the ensuite."

Neighbour Alida Soteldo told NCA NewsWire she was "devastated" by the tragedy.

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"I woke up at 1.30am with all the noise from the fire trucks and went out and spoke to a couple of residents from that block, which were evacuated from their apartments," she said.

"They said they woke up with people screaming but no one knew there were any casualties until this morning on the news."

More than 30 firefighters were called to the scene in the southeastern suburb of the city after witnesses reported seeing smoke billowing from a two-storey townhouse.

It is believed the inferno began in a downstairs garage before spreading throughout the home.

"The home sustained significant fire damage," Fire Rescue Victoria said in a statement.

"Occupants from neighbouring residences were evacuated as a precaution, their properties also inspected for fire damage."

Fire Rescue Victoria assistant chief fire officer Costa Katsikis said his thoughts were with those impacted by the "tragic event".

He said fire crews "were confronted by a fierce fire, a high fire load, a very hot fire that tragically ended in the loss of four lives and one person taken to hospital with smoke inhalation".

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