Three members of an Indian family are believed to have died after a fire tore through a Melbourne house on Friday, but police said the damage was so great it would take time to confirm.
Detectives said a family of four from southern India lived at the home and remains had been found. Reports said a mother and her two young boys died while the father was overseas on business.
"There's a lot of damage done to the premises but there's also a lot of damage done to the deceased as well," said Detective Sergeant Jeff Maher.
"Sometimes you just cannot tell how many are deceased.
"We're keeping our minds open on what might have happened," he added.
Neighbours told reporters they heard hammering, followed by a scream, as flames engulfed the home in the early hours of the morning.
"It's sad taking away little ones and their mother," said neighbour Terry Nooroa, who was awoken by a loud bang and the smell of smoke.