Warning: Distressing content
An Aussie preschooler who used his own tiny frame to try to shield his younger siblings from a fire that ripped through a shed at their family home has died in hospital.
Issac McGregor succumbed to his injuries after being rushed to hospital following the fire that claimed the life of his sister Ashlynn, 18 months, and brother Saige, 3. His 6-year-old sister Mavis is in critical condition in hospital.
News of his death was shared by a GoFundMe page set up in the wake of the tragedy.
“Issac sadly grew his wings and reunited with his baby brother and sister. He will always be remembered as the heroic young boy who gave his life trying to protect his siblings,” the update read.
“We thank everyone so much from the bottom of our hearts for all the donations and support. This community is absolutely incredible.”
The children were at home with their mother Jasmine Beck, and their father Kane McGregor told media said they must have snuck outside to play in the shed.
He said his partner was distraught after finding the shed ablaze and having to pull her children out while trying to extinguish the fire.
“I got them up, dressed, showered and fed them as I was leaving, Issac ran up to give me a cuddle and a kiss,” McGregor said of his final moments with his kids before he left to drive to Melbourne on the fateful morning.
“An hour later, I get the phone call.”
Describing him as “bravest and strongest kid” he knows, McGregor told media outside the hospital that Issac huddled over his two younger siblings as flames engulfed the small shed.
He revealed that once Jasmine reached the children she grabbed Mavis first before finding Issac protecting the two little ones.
“What 4-year-old huddles over their two little siblings? He stayed there until he died himself. They revived him and flew him here.
“I couldn’t be any prouder of him.”
The GoFundMe page organised to raise funds for the family earlier described Saige and Ashlynn as “beautiful angels” to their siblings.
“This family will never be the same without these children in their lives,” page organiser Daina Leech wrote.
“I’m hoping to help this family ease the financial cost of laying those beautiful babies to rest, as this is such an unimaginable situation for any parent to go through.”
The children’s uncle Anthony McGregor told The Age that Beck was struggling to cope.
“She’s destroyed,” he said.
“She’s not handling herself. She’s trying to be the best mum she can be right now and be there to support her children who are suffering.”
Police have described the situation as a “worst-case scenario” but are treating the fire as non-suspicious.
Police Inspector Emma Bartel told media that police “owed” it to the family to find answers.
“We have spoken to a family and we have spoken to neighbours. We are trying to piece together the events of what has taken place.
“We can only do our best to support the family and do our best to provide them with some answers.”