PITTSBURGH - Firefighters rushed to the scene of a house fire in Greenfield Friday afternoon that took the lives of two children.
Authorities said the blaze was reported at a duplex on Mirror Street near the intersections of Welfer and Windsor streets just after 3 p.m.
According to emergency crews at the scene, two children died in the fire. The medical examiner confirmed Saturday morning that the young victims were Kamari Thomas, 4, and Irihanna Hayward, 3.
The medical examiner said the two children died from smoke inhalation.
Fire Chief Darryl Jones told Channel 11 News that his crews responded to the fire within three minutes of receiving the call.
“Crews found the first floor fully engulfed. They then attempted to rescue the children who were on the second floor,” Jones said. “One was transported to Mercy where she was pronounced dead upon arrival. The other was pronounced dead here at the scene.”
Channel 11’s Julie Fine confirmed that one person jumped out of the house to escape the flames. That person was the children’s aunt, Candice Pearson, who was watching the children at the time. She is still in critical condition.
“I looked out and saw all the smoke. Just as we got here, the flames started shooting out. The mother came running up the street crying, ‘My babies, my babies, my babies.’ She was in bad shape,” said Bud Roth, who lives on the street.
Frank Iozzo, who works with Tudi Mechanical Systems, was making a service call at Roth’s home when he spotted the fire.
“I grabbed my fire extinguisher and came running down,” he said. “But it was too bad to get in. A black female who jumped out the back window was laying on the ground. Debris was falling off the house and a city police officer grabbed her, picked her up and carried her out front. The house was fully engulfed, I couldn’t get anywhere near with my little fire extinguisher.”
Abbey Brown lives next door to the duplex.
“I was in my bedroom and I heard a lot of screaming,” Brown said. “I saw a lot of fire billowing out. Everything happened so fast. There was a lot of screaming. The mother was screaming, ‘My babies are inside, my babies are inside.’ She was screaming at the top of her lungs. She was running up and down the street. The flames were billowing out of everywhere. It was actually scary. It was terrifying.”
Arson investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire. Workers from the American Red Cross were also on scene providing aid to firefighters and residents.
Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.