Mom Hospitalized After Philadelphia House Fire Kills Her 3 Kids and Husband, Who 'Died a Hero'

"He had the chance to jump out, but he ended up telling his wife to jump out the window... [and] that he would get the children," neighbors said

Yamalier Arroyo-Santana, 5; Yarnell Arroyo-Santana, 9 ; Alex Angel Arroyo-Santana, 12
Yamalier Arroyo-Santana, Yarnell Arroyo-Santana and Alex Angel Arroyo-Santana. Photo: Gofundme

In his final moments, a father did everything he could to save his family from a fire at their Philadelphia home that erupted early Sunday morning, neighbors told local media. Tragically, both he and their children died, while his wife survived.

Officials received a call about a fire at a single-family dwelling on Hartville Street shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday, Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said during a news conference hours later.

When the first vehicle of responders arrived at the residence just two minutes later, massive flames "blowing out of both the first and second" stories of the home made rendering aid difficult, Thiel said.

"Despite an aggressive interior attack by firefighters, four people did not survive; three of them were children," the fire department said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.

Officials said "one occupant who jumped out of the dwelling received EMS care and was taken to a hospital."

The School District of Philadelphia has identified the children as Yamalier, 5, Yadriel, 9, and Alex Angel Arroyo-Santana, 12, according to FOX affiliate WTXF-TV.

Yamalier was a kindergarten student at Lewis Elkin Elementary School, while Yarnell was in the third grade, Principal Charlotte Maddox said during a press conference Sunday afternoon, reported NBC Philadelphia.

Friends and family members identified their father as Alexis Arroyo Ríos, per the outlet.

Alexis Arroyo Ríos, Alex Angel Arroyo-Santana, 12, Yarnell Arroyo-Santana, 9 and Yamalier Arroyo-Santana, 5
The Ríos family. Gofundme

Neighbors told NBC Philadelphia that Ríos went back into the home to try and rescue his children, who were still trapped inside.

"He had the chance to jump out, but he ended up telling his wife to jump out the window ...[and] that he would get the children," neighbors said, per the outlet. "So basically he died as a hero."

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A staff member at the elementary school where two of the family's children attended has since created a GoFundMe.

"We are raising money to help the mom of Elkin students that perished in a fire on 4/24/22," Heather McCullough wrote. "Mom is currently in the hospital and has a long road to recovery ahead of her."

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In a GoFundMe update on Monday, McCullough wrote that while the campaign had exceeded its initial goal of $5,000, they will keep the fundraiser open.

"We will continue to collect money to help the family with the expense of 4 funerals, medical bills, and other expenses associated with relocating," the organizer wrote. "Please give what you can and share this link with others."

McCullough wrote that "the money from this fundraiser will be directly deposited into Yasmin Santana-Vega's account."

In an interview, property owner Edwin Ruiz said Ríos and Santana-Vega were the tenants of the unit since 2014 and had a rent-to-own plan, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Elkin Family Fire. Heather McCullough
The Ríos family. Gofundme

Although an investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing, firefighters said that upon their arrival, no alarms were going off, according to WTXF-TV.

"We aren't prepared to say that there were no alarms," said Battalion Chief Gustav Baumann, per the outlet. "We just know no alarms sounded upon arrival of the fire department."

Ruiz, of Ardmore, Pennsylvania, told The Philadelphia Inquirer he saw smoke detectors in the family's home when he visited prior to the beginning of their rent arrangement, and that the family had since done renovations inside the home.

At a press conference on Sunday, the Philadelphia Fire Commissioner urged all local residents to make sure they had working smoke detectors installed on every floor of their homes.

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