The boys have been identified as Walter Briggs Connolly and his younger brother Logan Connolly. The Grosse Pointe Public School System said they were students at Richard Elementary School, reported WXYZ.
According to the outlet, the boys called their mother when the house began filling up with smoke. Their mother had left the Grosse Pointe home to run some errands before taking the children to school, which was scheduled to start at 9:05 a.m. that day. When she came home, she found the property in flames.
Emergency responders arrived within two minutes of the 911 call at 7:51 a.m., and the first fire truck arrived within four minutes of the call, reported The Detroit News. Firefighters found the bodies of the boys in a bedroom upstairs.
One neighbor said he had seen smoke and heard cries for help. He also saw a man try to break a window to get inside the house, but he was unsuccessful, and the windows later blew out due to the heat.
“You could hear the screaming from the mom. I’m running out the door, and some guy broke open a window, and the huge flames came roaring up,” the neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, told ClickOnDetroit. “The kids were up in the bedroom above the garage, and they were trapped up there. You could hear the screaming. It was just terrible.”
Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Michigan State Police are investigating the cause of the fire, The Detroit News reported. Poloni added that the fire might have started in the kitchen.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to support the family.
“The Connolly family suffered an unthinkable tragedy on Monday morning. In the fire that engulfed their home, they lost their two precious boys, Briggs and Logan. They also lost the house,” a message on the GoFundMe page reads. “If you can, please donate directly to financially support them while they mourn and begin to heal.”
A prayer vigil for the children is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at St. Paul on the Lake Catholic Church.
“Please join us as a community for a prayer service for the children, parents, family, friends, and neighborhood as we all mourn this tragic loss,” the announcement read. “Everyone is welcome to come together so we may pray for the family during this difficult time.”