Heavy smoke and flames were already coming out of the Youngstown house by the time firefighters arrived late on Dec. 10.
Along with their mother, there were five children inside the house when the fire started. Firefighters were unable to reach two of them in time in the flames. Three others were rescued, but at the local hospital, they succumbed to their injuries.
According to WYTV, the children were aged from 1 to 9 years: 9, 3, 2, and 1-year-old twins.
The children’s mother survived and is currently being treated at Mercy Health Hospital, according to the latest reports at the time of writing.
She had jumped out of a window after the fire started at around 11:30 p.m., according to WFJM, telling firefighters that five children were still inside.
A neighbor had seen the fire and called 911.
— 10TV.com (@10TV) December 10, 2018
Once they had quelled the flames at the front of the house, firefighters were able to enter and search for the children, but it was too late. They managed to get to three of them and give them CPR, but they died later in hospital.
Two firefighters were injured in the fire, according to WDTN. One was taken to Mercy Health and the other was treated at the scene.
“It’s extremely hard,” Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Finley told WDTN. “We have a relatively young department and most the guys have children. So it hits pretty hard and the fact that it’s so close to Christmas hits even harder.”
Prayers and Teddy Bears
The assistant fire chief of a nearby fire department wrote on Facebook, “My heart goes out to all my Brothers and Sisters at Youngstown Fire Department. The job itself is extremely physical, but calls like these are what make for sleepless nights.”
5 children died overnight in house fire in Youngstown, Ohio.
The ages of the children are 9, 3, 2, and 1-year-old twins.
— Austin Kellerman (@AustinKellerman) December 10, 2018
People in the town have already been expressing their sorry and compassion, according to WYTV, bringing teddy bears to the scene and offering condolences.
“It is such a devastating loss. Five kids. It seems like every time this time of year something like this happens and we have a loss of life that just can’t be replaced,” Anita Davis, 6th Ward Councilwoman told WYTV. “I am just hoping the mom has family around here that can embrace her and give her the support she needs.”
Once the children’s schools have been identified, counselors will be available today, according to the Youngstown school district administrators.
“The little kids this is going to impact them,” Youngstown City Schools spokeswoman Denise Dick told WYTV. “They are going to need a lot of loving, that’s all I can say. They’ve lost a schoolmate.”
On social media, locals expressed their sorrow and prayers.
“I just went over our fire escape plan with the kids last night,” wrote one person. “You just never know … If you don’t have a plan please make one and go over it often. And always make sure your alarms work! It could possibly save your family. Praying for this family.”
Some criticized the mother for apparently leaving her children in the house. Meanwhile, other social media users urged caution in rushing to judgment.
“Unless you have been inside a burning building full of smoke, heat and raging flames, we cannot rationally talk about what we would do,” wrote one local. “I’m pleading with every ounce of humanity, to please join me in making every attempt to not judge this situation based on media reports of supposed actions. None of us were there.”
“Our judgments don’t bring back lost lives. They serve to inflict more pain on the living.”