Fire officials say five members of a family were saved from the two-alarm fire that ravaged the top floor of a building in the Bronx early Saturday morning.
The family of five was trapped in their sixth floor apartment when the fire broke out.
The mother was able to escape with her infant son out immediately, but rescuing the father and two young children, both under the age of 5, proved to be much more difficult for firefighters.
FDNY Lieutenant William Kearns of Ladder 56 explained what firefighters saw when they arrived at the apartment.
"We heard popping and it turned out to be the bricks almost exploding because it was so hot, it was popping," said Kearns.
Firefighters from Ladder 56 arrived at the Bronx apartment building on 50 East 191st Street at 3:30 a.m. to find heavy smoke and raging flames. Greeting them inside was a family with no way out.
"As we arrived on the second floor we met the mother who was distraught, crying saying my two babies and husband is in the apartment," said Kearns.
The massive fire was almost too much to bear by the time firefighters reached the sixth floor apartment. Firefighters had trouble getting water to the floor because of the height of the building.
Crews needed to use a fire extinguisher to hold the fire back. As they entered the apartment, they found the 28-year-old father badly burned, buy still alive.
Firefighter Chris O'Brien said, "In hallway just beyond kitchen, we heard some moans and we found him lying on side. We were able to pull him out past the kitchen."
The firefighters continued inside and found a 3-year-old girl unconscious in bed and her 1-year-old sister in her crib.
Fire investigators believe the fire began in the kitchen and they are working to pinpoint exactly how. Firefighters were able to get the fire under control at 4:00 a.m.
Neighbors were left to assess the severity of the fire and those who were injured.
"I saw him in the elevator," said one neighbor. "His body was darkened from the soot and smoke. I turned away because I didn't want to see how badly injured he was."
The family was taken to Jacobi Medical Center. The father and the three kids suffered the worst of it and they are currently in critical condition.
Three firefighters also sustained minor injuries.