A deadly fire erupted at an Indiana home early Friday and killed three children, officials said.
Authorities received a call about the blaze in Tell City around 3:25 a.m. CST but couldn't get inside because of the flames, according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
Flames were “shooting from almost every window on the ground floor,” Tell City Fire Chief Greg Linne said, according to The Associated Press.
A woman and two children managed to get out, and told responders that three other children remained inside on the second floor, the news release said. Crews were only able to enter after the flames were snuffed.
The State Fire Marshal’s office reported that there were three fatalities. They were Danielle Plock Sims, 11, Thomas Plock Sims, 6, and Roseanna Plock Sims, 3, officials said.
The woman who escaped the fire, Selina Applegate, is the deceased children’s mother. AP said she tried, without success, to rescue the youngsters. She and the other two children are said to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries.
“I'm not sure how she escaped,” Tell City Police Chief Derrick Lawalin said of Applegate. “We do understand there were efforts made by her to reach her children.”
Investigators are working to determine how the fire started, however “the extent of the damage will make a final determination extremely difficult,” the news release said, citing the State Fire Marshal lead investigator.
So far, no working smoke alarms have been recovered from the scene; witness reports indicate that none were heard as the situation unfolded, the news release said.
Tell City Mayor Jim Adams called on the community to lend support to the family, noting that the holiday season “is supposed to be a joyous time.”
“I want to let everybody know we, as a city, we want to just wrap our arms around these family members because we want them to know they're not alone.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.