The distraught mother of twin kids who perished in a house fire in Byron Bay begs with detectives.
The mother of twin daughters who tragically perished in a house fire in Byron Bay, thought to have been sparked by a burning candle, is pleading with police for answers after their father purportedly left them outdoors to attend a bonfire.
Ophelia and Tarrow, both four years old, are believed to have died from smoke inhalation when a fire broke out on Sunday morning at a Goonengerry ‘off-grid’ commune west of the seaside town.
The tragedy was discovered about 4 a.m. when the girls’ father, James Wright, and his girlfriend went to check on them and discovered them lifeless, with smoke rising from the property.
The girls had been visiting their father – a political activist who was apparently outside at a bonfire when the fire started – as part of their weekend shared parenting arrangement.
Harrowing calls to triple-zero were made pleading for assistance – but it was too late to save them.
The house was one of 19 scattered throughout the remote 40-hectare commune in northern NSW’s Byron Bay hinterland.
‘Hurry, the babies are gasping for air,’ an operator on the other end of the line was urged by a lady believed to be the father’s girlfriend.
Paramedics arrived shortly afterwards, however neither of the young girls was resuscitated.
Akira Garton’s lawyer has requested authorities probing the tragedy to look into why the girls were left alone in the residence.
Daily Mail Australia makes no allegation against the girls’ father.
‘He was on his knees on the floor, wailing no no, he was inconsolable,’ a commune member explained.
‘Our hearts are heavy with sorrow for him. Jimmy adored his girls and carried them around with him wherever he went.’
Mr Right ran for the Keep Sydney Open independent state political party in Ballina in 2019.
‘I’m told Jimmy is in horrible shape,’ Tyson Kho, CEO of Keep Sydney Open, said. ‘When he was canvassing as a candidate for Keep Sydney Open in the Lower House, the females were always with him.
Aerial footage of the distant bush commune reveals a scattering of buildings among the trees.
There are no driveways or fences separating the homes. Automobiles are parked recklessly wherever their drivers can find available space.
The community is supplied with water via a tank located in the property’s center, and it is understood that they pool resources wherever possible.
‘They’re like family,’ one resident explained to Daily Mail Australia. ‘They’re all in such a state of grief right now.’
The commune is only a 35-minute drive from Byron Bay’s primary business district – but it feels a world away to locals.
While Byron Bay has been gentrified and overrun by tourists and celebrities, Goonengerry and similar little communities nearby continue to remain ‘locals only’.
Residents embrace alternative lifestyles and, in a nutshell, ‘enjoy a simple life.’
The commune’s residents gathered as soon as the twins’ father noticed smoke rising from the chamber.
They remained stunned and perplexed as emergency services arrived and attempted to rescue the girls. At the scene, a woman was also treated for shock.
Another woman fought back tears as she brought a bouquet of flowers to the letter box on Sunday.
On one of the bouquets, a handwritten note read: ‘Mourning with you.’
The father of the girls is devastated by the twins’ deaths and is ‘in a dreadful state.’
‘He is self-blaming. He’s been thrown for a loop,’ one neighbor observed.
Several first responders were then forced to inform the girls’ mother, who was not present at the time.
‘They are stunned, gutted, and bereaved. ‘They are speechless,’ another buddy observed.
Deputy mayor Sarah Ndiaye of the Byron Shire said locals, particularly those who live in these types of hinterland villages, were particularly close.
The community as a whole will feel the loss, she stated.
‘The people on the scene obviously went in to check and saw what they saw,’ Tweed-Byron Police Superintendent Dave Roptell said.
‘It’s beyond heartbreaking to witness… someone die in these conditions. However, two females four years old is a terrible set of circumstances.’
Detectives will collaborate with on-scene fire investigators to discover the exact cause of the blaze.
The home sustained just little damage.