A father who lost his family to a townhouse fire in Glen Waverley a week ago risked his life fighting the blaze until he was dragged out of the burning home, according to his daughter.
Hiroyuki Kikuchi, 50, was the sole survivor after fire tore through his Tulloch Grove home on January 10, killing his wife and three daughters.
Shana Kikuchi, Hiroyuki‘s daughter and stepdaughter to the late Kaoru Okano, said her father had “lost everything”. She has started a GoFundMe campaign to help “put a roof over his head”.
The initiative launched three days ago has already amassed more than $75,000 in donations, with Ms Kikuchi setting a target of $150,000.
She said the money would also go towards a memorial service for her family members and help with travel expenses as Ms Okano’s loved ones attempt to fly into Melbourne from Japan.
“My dad was taken to hospital in a sedated coma after trying to fight the fire and ultimately being dragged out by firefighters,” Ms Kikuchi said.
“The moment I had to tell him the news of his family’s passing was truly horrible and one I won’t ever forget.
“My dad has lost everything; his beloved children, his wife Kaoru, their two cats Nixon and Tsuppy, and their home and everything in it.
“On top of all this, his business was decimated this year from COVID-19 and the financial hardship it caused; leaving them with nothing. When I saw him in hospital after the fire, he literally had no clothes on his back – absolutely everything is gone.”
The father of the young family was interviewed by police and released without charge.
Mr Kikuchi had been under police guard at the Alfred hospital, being treated for serious burns sustained in the blaze.
Ms Kikuchi had beautiful words for her stepmother and three stepsisters, aged three, five and seven – all taken far too soon.
“Kaoru was born to be a mother. She was such a dedicated, loving mum to my little sisters,” she said.
“Ako was the eldest of the three girls. She was the sweetest, caring girl. She had the biggest heart I know. She really took on the older sister role, looking after her sisters.
“Uta was the cheekiest, middle girl. Stealing lollies when she wasn’t allowed, fighting with Enna, saying cheeky things or making funny drawings of Dad.
“Enna, where do I begin? The littlest, yet the biggest personality. She was so loud all the time, singing and talking gibberish. There was not a day you would see her without drawings on her arms. Enna made everyone laugh.”
Detectives continue to investigate the circumstances in which the suspicious fire started.