An early morning fire in North Carolina led to the death of three children under the age of five and the hospitalization of their mother, authorities said.
News outlets reported that firefighters who responded to a house on Grimsley Street around 8 a.m. found fire coming from the windows and front door after learning that children might be inside.
Firefighters battled the fire for about five minutes before reaching the children, but Church said they were dead. Church said the mother was in stable condition at the hospital.
According to neighbors, there were seven children living in the house at one point, but firefighters found no other children in the home.
Fire investigators are investigating the cause of the fire, and a medical examiner will examine the children’s bodies.
Investigators located the other children at school.
Fire crews that examined the scene said that the smoke alarms in the house were not working and the home was engulfed in flames by the time anyone was aware of what was happening.
There were more than 30 firefighters and nine chief officers on the scene fighting to put the fire out and take care of the victims.
“This is devasting. This is devasting to the Fire Department, devastating to the community and this family,” Dwayne Church with the Fire Department said.
As part of the peer support program, the firefighters who responded to this fire will be able to check in and take care of their mental health.
“For some of our firefighters, this is the first time they’ve seen anything like this,” he said.