Twin girls, 5, and brother, 11, killed in house fire as mum and girl, 8, escape

Three children have died in a horrific house fire which saw neighbours risk their lives to save their mother and sister.

Five-year-old twins Matylda and Scarlett Rinkin were pulled from the house this morning and taken to hospital but later died of their injuries

Their 11-year-old brother Blake was later found dead inside the house in the Hunter Valley area of New South Wales, Australia.

Neighbours managed to battle the flames to rescue the children's 31-year-old mother Kara Atkin and her eight-year-old daughter Bayley.

The mum is being treated for burns to her back and forehead and both she and her daughter are being treated for smoke inhalation following the fire.

When police arrived at the home at around 3.30am, they found people screaming and the sound of smoke alarms and glass breaking .

Brock Forbes was one of many locals who were already at the house, trying to tackle the fire with hoses.

He told ABC in Australia: "Me and me family just woke up from a big bang and [we heard] just smashing and screaming so we ran out and grabbed the hose.

"I was trying to put the fire out and trying to save them and firefighters came and got it under control."

Firefighters went in through two upstairs windows to get to the children.

Police also praised neighbours for saving two lives.

Superintendent Chad Gillies said: "I would like to emphasise the heroic nature of the four residents in the nearby vicinity who tried to assist the people inside the house … and importantly got the mother and Bayley out."

He added that the village of Singleton where the blaze happened, which has a population of just 22,000, would "tear at its heart".

Superintendent Joshua Turner added that all the firefighters who worked on the fire were local people.

"Everybody in a town like this knows somebody who knows somebody," he said.

"So this isn't just a matter of finishing the job and moving on — there's going to be a lot of ongoing work and ongoing support that's needed."

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