Boy, 3, dies after unit blaze

A young boy has died after a fire inside a third-storey public housing unit in inner Melbourne yesterday.

The boy died in hospital despite the efforts of firefighters, who found him sheltering under a bed after the Fitzroy North blaze engulfed the home, leaving its walls black, about 12.30pm on Saturday.

Pictures from the scene show the charred windows of the unit, their frames warped from flames and the glass blown out.

Victoria Police said all other residents in the building on Nicholson and Clauscen streets were evacuated and accounted for.

“A young child was pulled from the burning building and taken to hospital in a serious condition,” a police statement said.

“Sadly, he died shortly after arriving at hospital.”

The Herald Sun reports the child was three years old.

Neighbour Kevin Georgiadis, 52, told media at the scene how he tried to save the boy himself but was beaten back by smoke.

Mr Georgiadis said a “screaming” mother holding a young baby told him the child was still inside.

“It didn’t look that bad from the outside but it was when I got up there — it was black,” he said.

“When the fire brigade came, I was out of breath and I told them, ‘Don’t talk to anybody else, just run straight up there, there’s a baby up there.’”

Premier Dan Andrews offered his condolences to the boy’s family on Twitter on Saturday night, and praised the heroic acts of neighbours and emergency services.

“As a parent, I cannot imagine the pain being felt in Fitzroy North tonight. My heart goes out to family, friends and loved ones in the wake of this tragedy,” he wrote.

“To those first on the scene, who gave everything they had to save this young Victorian: You are a credit to us all.”

Paramedics treated another person for smoke inhalation.

Arson squad detectives were investigating the cause of the fire.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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