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Port Hedland probe into children’s deaths continues as mother receives treatment for house fire injuries

The tight-knit community of Port Hedland is grieving the deaths of three children found in a burning home, as investigations continue into the events leading up to the fatal blaze.

Firefighters found the bodies of a 10-year-old girl and two boys, one aged seven and the other five months, after being called to a house fire on Tuesday afternoon in the Pilbara town

Grieving family members gathered around the home, cordoned off with police tape, comforting each other as authorities moved the children’s bodies from the site on Thursday afternoon.

The mother of the children was taken into custody after receiving injuries from the blaze, and had been recovering at Hedland Health Campus while assisting police with their inquiries.

She will now be flown to Perth for further specialist treatment. 

Homicide detectives, arson investigators and forensic teams are working with local police to uncover the cause and manner of the children’s deaths.

Detectives have been investigating the scene since Wednesday afternoon.(ABC News: Amelia Searson)

No charges have been laid.

“The investigation continues … they’re working feverishly at the scene,” WA Police superintendent Kim Massam said.

“We will provide the answers the community are looking [for], but we need the time to do that.”

Family in mourning

The family at the centre of the incident were well known in the area, according to the Department of Communities.

“They’re going through the most difficult time that you could imagine. They’re grieving for the loss of these babies,” acting regional executive director Sally Kirk said.

“They’ve been flooded with attention … they’ve asked everyone if they could please give them space to grieve, to be private, to go through this.”

Stuffed toys and flowers on a red dirt floor next to a pole.
Tributes have been laid at a memorial for the three children who died.(ABC News: Amelia Searson)

The WA Country Health Service has encouraged people in the community to prioritise their mental health in the wake of the tragic incident.

“Now more than ever, it’s important that we continue to be there for one another,” regional manager Roger Golling said.

Two people stand next to a tree with flowers and stuffed toys piled around the trunk.
The tragic death of three young children has been felt deeply within the small Port Hedland community.(ABC News: Amelia Searson)

He encouraged those in the community to seek out the array of available mental health services.

“We have community mental health services, a dedicated regional youth mental health program, specialist Aboriginal mental health services, and emergency mental health services through our hospital,” Mr Golling said.

Known for its iron ore exports, Port Hedland has a relatively small population of about 16,000 people in Western Australia’s north.

The closely connected town will need time to come to terms with the tragedy, according to Mr Golling.

“This is an incredible shock for all of us, and no doubt that it will have a long lasting impact on the community of Port Hedland,” he said.

“We will get through this together.”

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