Three children have died after an overnight fire Monday in a townhouse in Hillcrest Heights, Maryland, fire officials said.
The victims were little girls who were 1, 6 and 9.
Prince George's County officials did not immediately release their names but said they were members of the same family.
Firefighters were dispatched about 2:20 a.m. to the 2400 block of Iverson Street for a townhouse fire with a report of people trapped, officials said. Once on the scene, crews found a two-story townhouse on fire.
Two children inside the home were pulled out and taken to a hospital, where they died. Another child was found dead at the scene.
Two adults and another child were able to escape the home on their own, officials said. One of them, an adult, was taken to a hospital. That person has life-threatening injuries.
"There was fire bursting out of the windows; fire breaking the windows," said neighbor Shanice Mackson. "All I heard was glass breaking; I heard people screaming."
Mackson woke up to the smell of something burning. She went outside and saw the home in flames.
A woman was desperately crying for help, Mackson said.
"She was screaming, like, crying," Mackson said. "And then all I see was people being pulled out of the building."
Mackson said she watched firefighters charge inside, dousing the fire and trying to save lives.
Jennifer Donelan, public information officer for Prince George's County Fire & EMS, detailed the rescue efforts.
"We were able to remove two occupants, one out of a second-floor window — there's a ladder in front of the house," she said. "They brought that one occupant down with the ladder. They also removed another person inside the home through the front door."
Those two victims were later pronounced dead, and a third was found dead inside the home, Donelan said.
In addition, a firefighter was taken to a hospital to be treated for minor burns.
Neighbor Crystal Blue said her heart is in pieces for the family.
"I actually got a chance to talk to one of the family members that was called to the scene," she said. "He told me he lost his nieces. It's sad. It's really nothing that you can say to a person in that moment."
Blue said some family members arrived to learn the awful news and were tended to by firefighters.
"It's heartbreaking," she said. "That's the only word I can think of."
Fire investigators and Prince George's County Police detectives are conducting a joint investigation, fire officials said.
Stay with NBC Washington for more on this developing story.