Brisbane car fire kills ex rugby league star Rowan Baxter, his wife and three children

Bonnie Christian
Rowan Baxter/Facebook

A former rugby league star, his wife and their three children have been killed in a horrific car fire in Australia.

Rowan Baxter, who played in the NRL for the New Zealand Warriors, and the children - aged six, four and three - were pronounced dead at the scene following the blaze in the Camp Hill area of Brisbane.

A woman, reported to be Mr Baxter's wife Hannah, 31, was said to have fled the burning vehicle saying "He's poured petrol on me".

She died hours later in hospital from her injuries, police said.

Police told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Mr Baxter had self-inflicted stab wounds and had got himself out of the car, but died on the footpath.

Emergency services were called to the scene on on Wednesday at about 8.30am local time (10.30pm Tuesday UK time) and Detective Inspector Mark Thompson said: "It's a horrific scene."

Rowan Baxter with his three children Laianah, Aaliyah and Trey (Rowan Baxter/Facebook)

"It is very early in the investigation, but the vehicle was fully involved in fire upon police arriving."

Paramedics said they had also treated a passerby, who had "tried his best to get to the car".

He had suffered some "facial burning" and also been taken to hospital, a Queensland Ambulance spokesman told the ABC.

Mr Thompson confirmed the family in the car had lived locally.

Residents on the street told local media they had seen the woman jump out of the car while she was on fire.

She had yelled, "he's poured petrol on me", one witness told The Australian newspaper.

Police said their preliminary investigations indicated Mrs Baxter was driving the car and Mr Baxter, who played for the Warriors in 2005, was in the front passenger seat.

Mr Thompson said: "How the fire actually occurred has not been ascertained at the moment.

"For us to call it a murder-suicide or a tragic accident, it's inappropriate for us to try to do that.

"That's exactly what we're investigating, what exactly happened today."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison tweeted the incident was "devasting news".

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