CINCINNATI (AP) - Three children, all under the age of 10, were killed when a fire swept through their house early Monday, fire officials said.
The children's parents escaped. Their father jumped off the porch roof of the two-story house and was trying to coax one of his children to do the same when the roof collapsed, fire Capt. Mike Washington said.
"When one of the battalion chiefs arrived in his car, he saw the girl on the roof of the porch," he said. "She was lost in the fire."
The children were 2-year-old Robert Joseph Hulett , 5-year-old Jasmine Hulett and 9-year-old Julia Hulett , according to the Hamilton County coroner's office.
Julia was a third-grader at Oyler Elementary. On Monday, her classmates made a makeshift memorial around the desk she sat at.
"She was just an absolute blessing. She'd come in every day and she'd want to know how my family was," said Julia's teacher, Rachel Tapp. "Working at Oyler has been the biggest blessing of my life because you get to meet so many wonderful kids like Julia, but you never think you have to say goodbye to any of them. And she was--she was nine."
Two fire crews arrived at the house in Lower Price Hill around 2:30 a.m. about two minutes after a series of 911 phone calls, Washington said.
More than 50 firefighters battled the blaze.
"It's going upstairs and my husband's trying to put it out. My living room is on fire and my kids are upstairs," said April Hulett , the mother, in a frantic 911 call. "I got three babies up there."
All three bodies were found inside after the blaze was extinguished, with one on the first floor and the other two on the second floor.
The children's father, Robert Hulett, was in serious condition with burns, according to University Hospital. He had leaped from the porch roof.
"We fought hard," Washington said. "It was an intense fire and it was a valiant effort on the firefighters' part."
Community members placed cards, flowers and stuffed animals outside the home.
The cause of the fire has not been determined. Investigators say it could take days before a cause is determined because the home is so badly burned.