Three children -- the youngest just six months old -- were killed and three other family members were injured when a space heater ignited clothing and bedding inside a Hammond, Ind., home, authorities said.
Fire crews were called to the two-family home, on the 600 block of Sibley Boulevard, at about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday. Responders found the home engulfed in flames, said Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Margraf.
Three children, 7-month-old Jayden Young, 3-year-old Alexia Young, and 4-year-old Dasani Young, were not able to get out of the home.
Another 3-year-old and a 6-year-old were also transfered to a local hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and minor burns. They are both listed in good condition.
The father, D'Andre Young, was listed in critical conditions with third-degree burns after trying to run back into the home in an attempt to rescue his kids.
"I heard him screaming, 'My babies, my babies,' ... as soon as he shot out, his whole back, everything was on fire, he was on the ground rolling," upstairs neighbor Jasmin Rice told NBC 5. "I assume he kept trying to go back in to try to get them, but the smoke and the fire took over so fast, there was no way to do anything."
The mother of the family was not at home at the time of the fire.
"He's still in critical condition, but just seeing him like that, knowing he fought so hard to save them," the victim's aunt, Toni Stampley said.
The couple who lived upstairs from the Youngs said the family had been living without electricity and heat since last yuear.
"It's a tragedy," said Wanda Puckett, a crossing guard who would often see the children on her way to work. "I have two grandkids. I would never want this to happen."
She added that the mother and father were often with the children and described them as "a lovely couple."
Fire officials said there were propane space heaters in the home and said they were almost certain that's what caused the fire.
"We're pretty close, 90 percent that's what we're looking at, between a couple of space heaters and candles that were in the area of origin," chief fire inspector Michael Opinker said.
There was no immediate sign of smoke detectors but that doesn't mean they weren't present, officials said.
Correction: This post previously reported the home was on the 600 block of Sibley Street.
Note: This report was first published on Jan. 9, 2014.