6 kids presumed dead in US house fire

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Brian WitteAssociated Press

Six children are presumed dead after an horrific house fire in the US city of Baltimore.

The children’s mother and three other children survived the fire, but were hospitalised, fire department spokesman Roman Clark said.

“We will be going through the debris (to find more bodies),” Clark said. “It’s going to be a very, very slow process.”

Firefighters encountered heavy flames coming from all three floors of the home when they answered the call about 12:30am on Thursday, and they attacked the blaze from outside, Clark said.

“The building was fully engulfed when they arrived on the scene,” he said. The third floor collapsed and the second floor partially collapsed.

The children presumed dead are two boys, ages 9 months and 2 years; 3-year-old twin girls; and two girls, ages 10 and 11, Clark said. One body has been found at the home.

The children’s mother and two boys, ages 4 and 5, are in critical condition at a hospital and their 8-year-old sister may soon be released from the hospital.

The 8-year-old girl helped rescue her younger brothers, Clark said.

The children’s father, William Malone, said he was not home at the time of the fire because he was at work for a restaurant.

He said one of the three children taken to the hospital after the blaze has since been released.

“I’m still in shock to be honest,” said Malone, who was reached by phone at a relative’s home. He said he doesn’t know what may have caused the fire.

Neighbour Robert Spencer said he looked out his window to see the house in flames.

“The flames was coming out on every side, and that’s when the mother was coming around the side of the house,” Spencer said.

“I heard the kids crying. My daughter heard them. They said: ‘Help, help,” and you know, couldn’t save them, couldn’t save them,” he said. “There was just too much fire there.”

Michael Johnson, 55, who lives a block away and can see the house from his home, described it as a complete inferno.

“Fire was coming out of every window, and as they sprayed it, it seemed like the fire was fighting back or something. It just kept coming and coming and coming. Fire was actually coming out of the sides of the house. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life,” Johnson said.

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