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YOUNGSTOWN (KDKA/AP) – Five children died in a late Sunday evening house fire in Youngstown, Ohio.
According to officials at the scene, the fire broke out at a home in the 400 block of Parkliff Avenue around 11:30 p.m.
Firefighters believe the fire started in the living room area on the first floor.
Fire crews did all they could to save the children, but they couldn’t.
“The crews were faced with extreme amount of fire and heat,” Youngstown Fire Capt. Kurt Wright said. “So far, I do not see anything leaning towards a criminal investigation, but again until I get some more evidence, I won’t be able to verify that.”
Two children were pronounced dead at the scene, while three others died at a local hospital.
The victims have been identified as 9-year-old Aleysha Rosario, 3-year-old Charles Gunn, 2-year-old Ly’Asia Gunn and 1-year-old twins Brianna Negron and Arianna Negron.
The mother of the children escaped the fire by jumping from a second-floor window. She was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.
Wright also said two firefighters were injured. One was treated at the scene and the other was treated and released from a hospital.
People in the Youngstown community have been coming by the scene and leaving stuffed animals in front of the home. Some said they didn’t know the family, but they just wanted to come and pay their respects.
“This is very emotional because of all those babies,” Deborah Sly said. “I had to come and had to see this and pray for these poor babies and pray for mom.”
Tonika Brooks used to work with the mother of the children.
“I know she was a great mother, a hard worker. I know her kids were amazing, full of life,” Brooks said. “I was just over here, yesterday. Little Ari was in the window waving, smiling and to look at the color of the house now…”
In the wake of such a tragedy, Sly said she is leaning on her faith.
“God has a plan for our life and that’s what we have to hang on to,” said Sly. “If God allowed them to go this way, he knows what he’s doing.”