A mother and three children, ages 11, 7 and 3, died early Monday in fast-moving New York City house fire that also left the children's father and two teenagers in critical condition, a fire official said.
The fire was reported around 2:30 a.m. in Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay neighborhood.
"It was early morning; everyone in the home was asleep," Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said. The fire "got a good start before a neighbor noticed and called us."
Firefighters arrived within 2½ minutes but the flames were already "consuming" all three floors of the building, Nigro said.
"What they were confronted with is fire meeting them at the front door," he said. "So the units, knowing there were people in the home, pushed in very aggressively."
The mother, 40, was dead on the second floor of the single-family home. Nearby were her 3-year-old daughter, 7-year-old son and 11-year-old son.
In all, nine people were in the house — the couple, their six children and a cousin.
"This is a terrible tragedy, not just for this community, but for our city," Nigro said. "This time of year, when these things strike, it just tears your heart out for the family," Nigro said. "Our city grieves with this family today."
Nigro said the fire was accidental but the cause was not immediately pinpointed.