CINCINNATI – Three children were killed when a fire swept through their house early Monday, fire officials said.
Fire Capt. Mike Washington said firefighters arrived on the scene in Cincinnati's Lower Price Hill neighborhood shortly after 2:30 a.m. and found flames and smoke billowing from both floors of the single-family home. The blaze was already raging in full force by the time they arrived, he said.
The bodies of the children were found inside after the blaze was extinguished. All three children were under the age of 10.
"One was found on the first floor, but we knew we had more on the second floor," Washington said.
The children's father was taken to a hospital for treatment after jumping from a porch roof, and their mother also escaped, Washington said.
One girl was standing on the porch roof being coaxed by her father to jump as the roof collapsed, Washington said.
"When one of the batallion chiefs arrived in his car, he saw the girl on the roof of the porch," he said. "She was lost in the fire."
The family's names were not immediately available, but fire officials said they believed the children's ages were 2, 5, and 9.
Two nearby fire crews arrived about two minutes after a series of 911 phone calls, Washington said. More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze.
"We fought hard," Washington said. "It was an intense fire and it was a valiant effort on the firefighters' part."
The cause of the fire has not been determined. Washington said the investigation would be complicated by the intensity of the blaze.
Seven Ohioans have died in fires in the past three days, said Shane Cartmill, spokesman for the State Fire Marshal's Office.
The total fire deaths so far this year is 155, compared with 129 in 2007, he said.