Aussie firefighter's 1-year-old daughter plays by his coffin in emotional scene

The daughter of Australian firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer, who was killed while fighting a wildfire last month, stayed by her father until the end.
/ Source: TODAY

The 1-year-old daughter of an Australian firefighter wore his special service medal on her dress and his helmet on her head as she stood by her father's casket in a heartbreaking scene on Tuesday.

In pigtails and a white dress, Charlotte O'Dwyer stayed by her father's casket as mourners grieved Andrew O'Dwyer's loss in a ceremony at Our Lady of Victories church in Horsley Park.

Charlotte O'Dwyer wore the helmet and service medal of her father, Australian firefighter Andrew O'Dwyer, at a heartbreaking church ceremony Tuesday after he was killed last month. Getty Images

O'Dwyer, 36, was laid to rest after he and fellow firefighter Geoff Keaton of the Rural Fire Brigade were killed Dec. 19 while on the job battling the wildfires that have engulfed a large swath of Australia.

Charlotte wandered up to the pulpit during the service and touched her father's casket, according to Australia's 7 News. The little girl was also pictured kissing his casket and laying under it during the ceremony.

The little girl would not leave her father's side as people mourned his loss while his fellow firefighters continue to battle destructive wildfires across the country. Getty Images

The emotional scene was emblematic of the human toll taken by the wildfires, which have claimed at least 24 lives and destroyed 2,000 homes, according to The Associated Press.

O'Dwyer is survived by Charlotte and his wife, Melissa, who accepted the service medal for Andrew from RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons during the funeral.

"Charlotte should know her father was a selfless and special man, who only left because he was a hero,'' Fitzsimmons said during the ceremony, according to reports. "There are no words that can adequately describe our sorrow, our respect, our regard, for the loss of Andrew ... in that tragic accident."

Charlotte O'Dwyer kissed her father's casket during the ceremony at a church in Horsley Park, Australia. Getty Images
Charlotte and her mother, Melissa, received Andrew O'Dwyer's service medal from RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons during the funeral. Getty Images

O'Dwyer's father, Errol, said during the ceremony that Charlotte was his son's greatest achievement and the "apple of her father’s eye," reports The Australian.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attended the ceremony along with other high-level government officials to pay their respects.

O'Dwyer and Keaton were killed when a tree fell in their path while driving a fire truck amid the Green Wattle Creek blaze in Buxton and the truck veered and then rolled off the road.