It was a Christmas morning that nightmares are made of: A fire ripped through a mobile home in Louisiana in the early hours yesterday, killing three siblings and landing their parents in a hospital burn unit, WDSU reports. The fire started in the kitchen and living area where four children, including the three victims—a girl, 13, and two boys, 12 and 11—were sleeping. The children's father, who was badly burned on his arms, emerged from a bedroom and grabbed the surviving child before fleeing—but couldn't make it back for the others.
"The fire was so quick, he just couldn't get to them," the fire inspector told HoumaToday. The children and their parents had been visiting from Alabama; in total there were 13 people inside at the time, including nine children, aged 14 months to 13. The survivors escaped through windows and a back door with minor injuries and smoke inhalation. Authorities say the fire may have been sparked by space heaters or candles left throughout the home; there were no working smoke detectors inside.