Bianka O’Brien and son Jude have been remembered following the recovery of their bodies from the site of a burnt-out building in Sydney’s inner west.
Bianka O’Brien and her baby boy Jude have been described as a “living star” and a “beautiful son”.
The bodies of the mother and her one-year-old were carried out together from the charred remains of a building in Sydney’s inner west on Friday, as authorities’ worst fears were realised.
“My heart is broken at the loss of you and your precious little boy,” Kathryn Prazak, a friend of Ms O’Brien, wrote on Facebook.
“I hope that whomever is responsible for this tragedy is found and punished.”
Belinda Dos Santos described hair salon owner Ms O’Brien as a “living star” as her family and friends struggled to make sense of the deaths.
A co-worker at Urban Hair Culture, who did not wish to be named, said she was helping the family through the tragedy.
The husband and father of Ms O’Brien and Jude, John O’Brien, is believed to have left for work at a hospital about an hour before an explosion and subsequent inferno ripped through the Rozelle building early on Thursday.
The rescue team’s grim discoveries on Friday followed the retrieval of 27-year-old Chris Noble’s body from the wreckage on Thursday night.
His mother Liz called him a “beautiful boy”.
“He should have been safe, sleeping in his own bed,” she said.
“We are gutted.”
The 27-year-old 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 told AAP.
“He was committed to his family.
“He’s a loveable larrikin.”
The discovery of the two bodies on Friday brought to an end a delicate, painstaking operation by rescuers.
It also turned the focus of the site to a crime scene.
Reports of a car fleeing the area after the explosion are being investigated.
Police want to speak to the convenience store owner Adeel Khan, who is in a serious condition in hospital after emergency services had to dig him out of the debris by hand.
The store owner is not a suspect at this stage.
Investigators are reviewing CCTV footage and Strike Force Baracchi was launched to investigate the fire.
“We are treating the fire as suspicious,” Detective Superintendent Murray Chapman said.
Nearby store owner Wendy Doughty said the community was shaken.
“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.”