3 Children Killed in Englewood Fire

Fire officials say a 4-year-old was playing with a lighter that sparked the fire

A house fire killed three children and injured two Chicago Police officers early Thursday morning.

The fire broke out around 2:15 a.m. on the first floor at 6758 S. Emerald Ave. in the Englewood neighborhood.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford says a 4-year-old was playing with a lighter in a bedroom, and the fire spread quickly.

The parents tried putting out the fire with pots filled with water, but were unsuccessful, according to Langford.

A 3-year-old girl, Desire, died on the scene, according to the fire department. Her two brothers -- Joseph, 4, and Stacey Jr., 9 -- were transported to Comer Children's Hospital in critical condition, where they later died.

The children’s father, Stacey Austin, said he woke up and saw something on fire. He tried to put out the fire and evacuate his family and his neighbors, who live upstairs. The three children who died were trapped in a back room of the house. Austin and his wife have 10 children.

The fire was extinguished about an hour after it started.

Two Chicago Police officers were treated for minor smoke inhalation.

“It just happened so fast,” said Sheila Dorsey, who lives upstairs. “I tried so hard."

For those who wish to donate, a fund has been created at US Bank.  Contributions can be made to the "Austin Family Fund."

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