Toddler twins burned to death in house fire as mother who was locked outside watched helplessly
Aisha and Lailani were playing with a burning pillow beside a log fire at their home and their mother snatched the pillow from them
A mother is mourning the loss of her young twin daughters, who died holding hands after they were inadvertently caught inside their home as it was engulfed in flames.
Tanyka Ford, 29, had rushed to intervene when she saw her three-year-old girls, Aisha and Lailani, playing with a burning pillow beside a log fire at their home in Batlow, New South Wales, Australia, according to the Daily Mail.
Ford had snatched the pillow from them and taken it outside, only to watch in horror as the twins playfully locked the door behind her. Unbeknownst to the mother, something else besides the pillow had also been burning inside the room, and the flames quickly spread through the rest of the home.
Within four minutes, the fires were 13-feet high and had engulfed the residence even as Ford and neighbors desperately tried to force their way inside. The 29-year-old reportedly tried to break the windows as her five-year-old son Dominic, who was also outside, cried for help but to little avail.
By the time the emergency services arrived at the scene, it was too late. They retrieved the girls, who were unconscious and whose "heads were flopping" but could not save them. They were found holding hands, according to reports, and are believed to have died from smoke inhalation.
"The girls couldn't speak, they had their own special language, they adored each other, they were found in the front room huddled holding each other's hand," said the twins' aunt, 39-year-old Tammy Dubois. "Tanyka is covered in cuts and scratches from trying to break through windows to get to the girls. She loved those girls, her eyes are red raw from crying."
She described Aisha and Lailani as "wild, little Tomboys" who loved playing in the dirt and spoke a special language that just they understood.
She also revealed that her brother Geoffrey, the children's father, was "beside himself" and couldn't even make it to the hospital to identify their bodies.
Riverina Police District Commander Bob Noble said Strike Force Edmonson would be investigating the tragedy and were keeping an "open mind" about how it unfolded. He admitted "it is not impossible that the door was unlocked" and that they will be "looking at everything."
The twins' uncle, Levi Ford, has set up a GoFundMe page in their name to raise donations and wrote, "My sister tragically lost her 3-year-old twin Daughters Aisha & Lailani in a house fire, which claimed not only the lives of these 2 young children but also their home and belongings."
"Her son has lost all his belongings including toys and clothing. I know how tough times are right now, I’m making a go fund me to help with clothing, food and other items that may Be needed to help her get back on her feet," he continued. "Also help with funeral costs etc. Losing everything is hard enough without having to worry about financials. Anything no matter how small would be muchly appreciated."
The page has raised over $7,500 at the time of writing.