At least six children and two adults were killed early Sunday after a fire broke out in a Chicago apartment, fire officials said. One woman lay in the street crying.
An Medical Examiner's Office spokeswoman says autopsies have been conducted on all of those killed but the medical examiner is waiting for the fire department to determine how the blaze started before listing the cause and manner of death.
A dog was also killed in the fire, while a firefighter was hospitalized in good condition.
"We have not had this in many, many, many years - this amount of fatalities and injuries in one location", Commissioner José Santiago said Sunday morning.
The office identified the three children in a news release Monday as 3-month-old Amaya Almaraz, 16-year-old Victor Mendoza and 10-year-old Giovanni Monarrez.
"Our babies are gone there's nothing we can do", Contreras said. "It just ― I don't even got words to explain the pain I'm feeling right now".
The victims were found on the second floor of the property. For now, Porod said she made a donation to a GoFundMe page for the family and planned to share it with the school's community.
"This is a tragedy beyond anything I ever dreamed of in my life", Reyes said.
A makeshift memorial along a nearby sidewalk included crosses for each child who died, a small Mickey Mouse doll set next to one.
The Chicago Fire Department was dispatched to the fire around 4 a.m. The Rev. Clifford Spears of Saint Michael Missionary Baptist Church led a crowd that gathered in prayer, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Chicago police said an adult and one child, Cesar Contreras, 14, were taken to the hospital in very critical condition after suffering from smoke inhalation. A candlelight vigil was planned for Sunday night.
Investigators seeking the cause of Chicago's deadliest fire in well over a decade were searching the porch area where the blaze started for evidence of fireworks, cigarettes or other smoking materials, a fire official said Monday.