Firefighters put their lives on the line and walked into a blazing home after reports two children were inside.
Crews were called to a property at 1pm in Coledale, West Tamworth and on arrival, found a boarded-up house alight and people screaming from the street saying young children had been seen in the house but could not be found.
Firefighters entered the house despite intense heat and flames coming from all sides and carried out a full search and the all-clear was given.
Police updated FRNSW and said they had reports that the young children had been seen running away by some members of the public.
Crews continued to work for another 30 minutes to completely extinguish the fire and police are investigating the cause.
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"One firefighter suffered extreme heat during the search and rescue procedure,"FRNSW Superintendent Tom Cooper.
"As a result of that, his helmet was melted and his fire tunic was severely damaged."
Superintendent Cooper said they believe the fire was deliberately lit, and he was concerned that there had been multiple hours fire since Christmas.
Anyone who has information about these malicious fires is urged to contact the police before people are seriously injured or killed.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.