Friends, strangers show support following fire that killed 3 you - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Friends, strangers show support following fire that killed 3 young children

Fire tore through a Hamilton home on Franklin Street early Friday, killing three children and injuring three other relatives. (FOX19 NOW/Megan O'Rourke) Fire tore through a Hamilton home on Franklin Street early Friday, killing three children and injuring three other relatives. (FOX19 NOW/Megan O'Rourke)
Alexander, First Grade; Siclali, Fourth Grade; and Yesenia, Seventh Grade (Photos provided) Alexander, First Grade; Siclali, Fourth Grade; and Yesenia, Seventh Grade (Photos provided)
Friends, family and strangers mourn the children lost in Hamilton house fire. (FOX19/Lindsey Wopschall) Friends, family and strangers mourn the children lost in Hamilton house fire. (FOX19/Lindsey Wopschall)
HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) -

A large house fire that killed three young children and injured three other relatives Friday began in the living room, fire officials said Monday.

The cause remains under investigation.

Alexander Flores-Ortiz, 7, Siclalia Flores-Ortiz, 10, and Yesenia Flores-Ortiz, 12, were trapped on the second floor of the home when flames broke out around 2:30 a.m., officials have said.

"They were my three best friends and they came to my house yesterday,” said 10-year-old Dawson Irwin.

Neighbors woke to the sound of screams and saw flames shooting into the sky. Some called to summon help.

"It's on fire! Oh my God!" one distraught person told a dispatcher. "There's kids in there!"

The first floor of the home was fully involved when firefighters arrived. The bodies of the three children, students at Hamilton City Schools, were found once crews were able to reach the second floor.

Their father, mother and 2-year-old brother were outside the house suffering from injuries. The father, Mikie, who was burned, was airlifted to University of Cincinnati Medical Center and is now listed in stable condition.

"They mean the world to us. They mean the world to us. They went to school with our kids. They rode the bus together. Just happy happy kids,” said Brandy Brockman, a neighbor and friend of the family.

The mother, Crystal, and her toddler were taken by ambulance to Fort Hamilton Hughes Hospital.

Another sibling, 9, was not hurt.

The Ohio Fire Marshal's Office, Hamilton Police and Fire departments and the Butler County Coroner's Officer are conducting a joint investigation into the cause, according to a press release.

The home appears to be a total loss. They did find smoke detectors on both floors but it's not clear if they were working. 

"Both were heavily damaged," said Hamilton fire investigator Trevor Snider. "One we could not check if it was operational or even if it had a battery in it. The one on the second floor did have a battery."

Counselors were available at the elementary and middle schools where the children attended to help friends and teachers process the news.

The Red Cross is providing food and clothing. Meanwhile, a memorial for the children along the street where they died is growing as friends and strangers show their support. 

"It's all too much to handle right now," said Elizabeth Massey, Crystal's best friend. 

The children's deaths push this year's statewide fire fatality totals just past 2013 figures, state records show.

With Friday's fire, 106 people have died so far this year in fires, up from 105 in all of last year, according to the Ohio Fire Marshal's Office.

By comparison, 106 people also died in Ohio fires in 2012 after 128 died in 2011.

Documents show in September 2011 there was another fire at the Flores-Ortiz home. It was started by a match where the water heater was located.

A fundraiser will be held on Thursday at Campionis Pizzeria of Mason at 6691 Western Row Road. Ten percent of their daily proceeds will benefit the Flores-Ortiz family. The restaurant will also be taking donations for items like clothing, Christmas presents and furniture. 

Additionally, donations will be accepted at basketball games at Bridgeport Elementary and Hamilton Freshman School over the weekend. The games are on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. 

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