Melbourne boy locked in house dies in fire

Last updated 18:38 07/02/2014

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A three-year-old boy has died in a fire after his mother locked him inside their Melbourne home while she did jobs outside in the heat.

The woman tried to get back to her son when she saw fire coming from the Dandenong unit but the heat and smoke were too strong, police say.

Neighbours who saw the fire and heard her screaming also tried to get inside but couldn't.

Detective Sergeant Lionel Joseph said the woman locked the boy inside the unit so he wouldn't go out in the heat while she took out rubbish and moved furniture around outside.

"She's fairly distraught at the moment," he told reporters.

He said the woman had been outside for about 10 minutes when she noticed the fire and while she had the keys she was driven back by the heat and smoke.

"Unfortunately at that stage she had been around the side of the apartment, the fire had taken hold and the heat and smoke was just too strong for her to gain access," Det Sgt Joseph said.

Others including neighbour Ehsan Popal also tried to help.

"The whole house, the downstairs (was) on fire," he said.

He saw the woman running and heard her screaming.

"She said, 'Oh my God my baby's inside'.

"I tried to break into the neighbour's window and I tried to go upstairs to grab the baby but the window actually had bars."

Police have commended the heroic actions of neighbours who tried to help save the child.

The cause of the Friday morning fire has not been determined.

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- AAP

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