Adeel Khan is expected to charged with three counts of murder in relation to the blast and subsequent fire earlier this month, polices sources.
Bianka O’Brien, 31, her baby son Jude and their neighbour Chris Noble, 27, all died in the Darling Street fire.
The father and husband of two victims of a shop explosion in Sydney last week says he is devastated by the loss of his wife and their 12-month-old son, who “made everyone smile”.
The NSW Police Arson Squad is leading a criminal investigation into the Rozelle blast and fire on Thursday that killed Bianka O’Brien, 31, and her son, Jude, along with 27-year-old Chris Noble.
John O’Brien described his wife of eight years as “an inspiration to all who knew her”, saying she was a wonderful wife and an even better mother.
He said people gravitated towards her because of her “beautiful and warm personality”.
“Bianka and I were together for eight years, married for two, and to say she was the love of my life is an understatement,” he said in a statement.
“I can’t believe how quickly those eight years have flown by but they have definitely been the best years of my life.
“I know I was truly loved by her and the feeling was entirely mutual.”
Mr O’Brien said he loved his son Jude with all his heart, describing him as the perfect baby who “never stopped smiling”.
“By far the proudest moment of my life was becoming a father,” he said.
“Jude had just started to walk and was only just discovering the world around him. Everything was exciting to him and he was just a joy to be around. He made everyone smile.”
He said the events of the past few days had been devastating, but he has been overwhelmed by the support from the community.
“Finally, I would like to extend my sympathy to the family of Chris Noble and everyone else who has been affected by this,” he said.
The owner of the convenience store on the Darling Street block, Adeel Khan, remained in intensive care at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
Asbestos concerns at blast site
Concerns over asbestos contamination and an exclusion zone around the site the explosion and fire were discussed at a town hall meeting on Sunday.
The area around the blast site has been described by investigators as “very dangerous” and shut off to residents and business owners since Thursday.
Inspector Gary Coffey assured the gathering that authorities were addressing concerns over asbestos and the impact of an exclusion zone around the site.
“We understand the very real need to restore this community in a timely manner so that the healing process can begin,” Inspector Coffey said.
“I can assure you that we are all working very hard every minute of the day to try and achieve this.
“The priorities for the police operation are to assess the asbestos management at the site, reducing the exclusion zone to allow unaffected businesses to re-open and to provide pedestrian access to those businesses and crime scene examination.”
Local business owner Steve Isaac said his electrical store on Darling Street had been closed since Thursday and the exclusion zone set up around the blast site had been having a major impact on his business.
“Because it’s a crime scene and the street is closed off, it’s hard to get deliveries in and out and we’ve had a lot of cancellations,” Mr Isaac said.
“Most of us have had to stay shut.”
Inspector Coffey said a demolition order had been issued for the building next to the convenience store on Darling Street.
An accredited company carried out an asbestos inspection on Friday and told police asbestos had been detected on the ground and immediately around the site.
“An asbestos exclusion zone was put in place at the site, and the clean up commenced (on Saturday), and at the same time a hygienist commenced air monitoring at several locations around the site,” Inspector Coffey said.
“The result we received was that there was no airborne asbestos detected.
“Early this morning asbestos clean up at the site recommenced and we will be conducting further testing today and these results will determine how quickly we can reduce the exclusion footprint so that businesses can re-open.
“The site itself is very dangerous and the conditions are constantly changing, and we’ll keep everyone informed of developments.”