Kamis, 04 September 2014

Bodies of missing Sydney blast trio found (AAP)

The search for a mother and her baby in the rubble of a building continues in Sydney s inner west.AAP The search for a mother and her baby in the rubble of a building continues in Sydney's inner west.

The bodies of a mother, her baby son and another man have been recovered from the rubble of a burnt-out building in Sydney's inner west.

Rescue teams uncovered the bodies of Bianka O'Brien and her 12-month-old son, Jude, on Friday afternoon after finding 27-year-old Chris Noble's body on Thursday night.

The three had been unaccounted for after an explosion and subsequent blaze destroyed a convenience store and adjacent units in Rozelle early on Thursday morning.

Two men leapt from the first floor of the burning building and another was dug out by hand by emergency services after being buried under a refrigerator.

John O'Brien, the husband and father of Bianka and Jude, had reportedly left for work at a hospital an hour before the explosion.

The family of Mr Noble is expected to speak to the media on Friday afternoon.

Mr Noble, 27, was a travel and sports enthusiast who grew up in Canowindra in central western NSW.

"It's just really raw for all of us. We're not a big family," his aunt, who did not wish to be named, told AAP.

"He was committed to his family.

"He's a loveable larrikin."

The discovery of Ms O'Brien and baby Jude brings to an end a delicate, painstaking operation by rescuers.

Police are reviewing CCTV footage of the blaze and have deemed it suspicious. Investigators are looking into reports of a car fleeing the area after the explosion.

"I don't know what part that car plays in the investigation at this time," Superintendent Clive Ainley said on Thursday.

Nearby store owner Wendy Doughty said the community was in shock.

"I am feeling quite emotional about it. I have been part of this community for 25 years," she said.

"I have never known such an awful eerie feeling in the district.

"I am feeling a little bit scared and fragile."

Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne said: "I think it's going to leave a hole in the heart of our community for some time to come.

Detective Superintendent Murray Chapman said: "Three people have lost their lives in this event, and our thoughts are with their families and friends who are grief-stricken.

He added: "We are treating the fire as suspicious, however, given the investigation is still in its infancy, I cannot go into detail on our lines of inquiry."


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