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Family of Tallarook fire victims says mother and daughter were loved: “We will miss them every day of our lives”

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The family of the two victims of a house fire in Tallarook on Sunday have described mother Deirdre Naughton and daughter Leela Naughton as very much alike.

Police discovered their remains on the property on Tallarook-Pyalong Road on Monday, after 40 CFA firefighters spent two hours bringing the flames under control late on Sunday night.

The blaze engulfed the single-storey weatherboard house, the main residence on the property, which was completely destroyed.

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Deirdre’s long-term partner Clint Dodd was working interstate and has now returned home.

Deirdre’s mother Rachel Naughton and father Phillip Naughton said they were devastated by the news.

Leela Naughton, 10, has been described by her grandparents as energetic, and very much like her mother Deirdre.

“We are absolutely devastated by the loss of our daughter Deirdre and our granddaughter Leela.

“Deirdre was a very strong, hardworking, loyal, dependable person, you could always rely on her. She was a dedicated mother to 10-year-old Leela.

“Leela was a very energetic child, very much her mother’s daughter. She loved to dance and sing. She was good at maths and English.

“Leela loved living on the farm. It was her job to feed all the animals – the ducks, geese, chickens and horse, and let them out in the morning before school and locking them up in the evening.

“Leela’s cousins are devastated. They shared many holidays – and only last week Leela stayed with her cousins for the school holidays.”

Deirdre, 42, was a stunt actor who had worked in special effects teams in local and international productions for more than 20 years. She was well-respected and liked within the television and movie industry.

Deirdre was the youngest of three siblings, sister to Bridget and Michael.

“We will miss them every day of our lives,” a statement from the family read.

“We wish to thank the firefighters and emergency services who attended.

“Please respect our family’s privacy at this difficult time.”

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