An 8-year-old girl is being hailed a hero after she pulled two younger brothers to safety after a swift-moving fire engulfed their Baltimore home in flames and killed six other siblings.
The two boys, ages 4 and 5, were listed in critical condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital, according to the Baltimore Sun. Their 8-year-old sister was treated and released.
The mother, Katie Malone, also reportedly remains in critical condition — although a neighbor tells the Sun he saw her running around the side of her house as the fire burned. Her husband was at work at the time of the fire.
“I said, ‘Where’s the babies at?’ She said, ‘They’re in the house,’ ” Robert Spencer, 51, told the paper, explaining that he heard a loud boom just after midnight.
A 9-month-old boy, a 2-year-old boy, 3-year-old twin girls, and 10- and 11-year-old girls perished in the blaze, according to fire officials. The fire was reportedly so hot that it melted part of a nearby car.
Baltimore Fire Department Chief Roman Clark confirmed details of the fire Friday morning, calling it “horrendous,” per ABC News.
He said the body of the 9-month-old was discovered in a crib on the first floor of the three-story home, and that the third floor collapsed in the blaze, which made the search for potential survivors difficult.
Fire Chief Niles Ford told the Sun that when he arrived on the scene, three firefighters had taken a knee in front of the home.
“We did everything we could, Chief,” one told him.
“I know you did,” he replied.
Katie Malone worked as a special assistant to U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who told reporters that he talked to her husband “at length” that day.
“Katie is going to be OK … Three of her nine children, her husband thinks they will be OK, also,” the congressman said, per ABC News. “Our office will do every single thing in our power to embrace them in this very, very difficult time.”
The cause of the fire is currently under investigation, and a GoFundMe account has been set up for the family.