AN EIGHT-year-old boy has died in a house fire after running back in to save his trapped baby sister, his family say.
Brayden, 8, was found in the hallway outside his sister’s bedroom while his six-year-old brother Lucas, who he shares a room with, escaped.
His family believe he was trying to save nine month old sibling Arianna, who also died.
Three others in the house, including Lucas survived, warned by smoke alarms.
Arianna’s father crawled into the house to try rescue them, but was forced to retreat.
Brayden’s grandmother, Angela Martin, told Stuff the children’s mother, Nicole Mulligan, believed a fan heater was to blame for the blaze.
“It was a reasonably new heater they had bought to keep the baby’s room warm. [They] think it was the heater because there’s no other reason.”
Authorities are yet to confirm what caused the fire.
The tragedy has left the family heartbroken and Ms Martin recalls the awful moment she discovered that two of her daughter’s four children were dead.
“She said to me, ‘my babies have died, my babies have died, I’m having a nightmare.’
“I thought she was having a nightmare and I said ‘what are you talking about’ and she said ‘Brayden and Arianna’, and she was screaming down the phone.”
Arianna’s father, Des Cooke, was woken by a smoke alarm and able to save the two other children in the home.
Ms Martin said: “He walked into the room and just said ‘I tried so hard, I’m so sorry, I tried’.”
Mr Cooke said he thought Brayden, whose second name has not yet been released publicly, managed to get out of the house as he slept in the same room as his 6-year-old brother, Lucas, who survived.
Ms Martin added: ‘He thought he got them all out, and he ran back in and ended up having to go back out … and said ‘where’s Brayden’, and Lucas said ‘he didn’t come out’, so Des went back in with one of the neighbours to try and find Brayden.’
Brayden, who went to Bishopdale Primary, had an “absolute heart of gold”, Martin said.
“He knew he was really loved. He protected his brothers and sisters as best he could, he doted over his two baby sisters.”
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Martin said she felt like her heart had been ripped out when she received the news of Brayden’s death.
“We’re absolutely devastated.”
A Givelittle page had raised more than $110,000 for the family by 3pm Thursday.
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