Police have been conducting an investigation at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping mall in Sydney, Australia, where a fire started in a black sedan and burned for several hours before firefighters arrived. Two children were inside the car, which was full of children’s clothing and toys. The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, called the incident “absolutely devastating,” and said that the three children, who ranged in age from 9 to 13, were identified as Keira, Jayden, and Chanel. Their bodies were later removed from the scene by ambulance personnel. According to local media reports, the car caught fire about 11:30 a.m. local time on Monday, and quickly spread to multiple parked cars nearby. The police have not released the exact cause of the fire, but said it was working on the theory that it might have been caused by a faulty heater. Police, for their part, said that they were treating the incident as a potential criminal matter, and that the cause would be investigated by investigators from the state fire marshal’s office.

Three fire crews were required to extinguish the flames, and local media reported that they were on the scene for six hours. In the end, the car was entirely destroyed. Despite the appearance of a tragedy, Mark Walshe, the CEO of the Westfield corporation, called the incident “a fantastic outcome for all involved.”

Prime Minister Morrison offered his condolences to the family and friends of the children, but made clear that he could not speculate about what caused the fire. He called the children’s deaths “our community’s loss,” and said the mental health services were working on the ground to provide support to family members and friends. “Our community is grieving, and we will all mourn together and do everything we can for the next few weeks and months,” he said.

Read the full story at ABC News.


U.K. family says it lost nine children in early-morning fire