A fire in a Bronx apartment building that killed three young children Friday night was accidental and was caused by burning candles, according to fire marshals.
The fire broke out just before 8 p.m. Friday in an apartment on 165th Street in Highbridge.
Three boys - 4-month old Michael Turner, 2-year-old Jeremiah Artis and 5-year-old Elijah Artis - were killed.
"The fireman ran out with a young kid," said neighbor Maria Cancel. "Everybody was running up the block behind the fireman. The mom was screaming. Everybody ran up there. The fireman threw the baby down by the ambulance to start the CPR. Just seeing one kid just frozen, like, there was so much residue. He was so burnt up, badly burnt."
The 25-year-old mother, identified by neighbors as Tashekah Turner, was able to get out with a 4-year-old girl and a 4-month-old girl who is believed to be Michael's twin.
"I kicked the door open," said neighbor Cynthia Woods. "The fire came out, it was too heavy, and I couldn't get in there to save the kids.
Neighbor Elymay Gonzalez said she barely got out of her fourth-floor apartment.
"We left through the fire escape. We have four little kids in the house, so we had to exit them out," she said. "They on the same side. So they trying to get them out, break the windows and stuff, but we're coming down, everybody's coming down the fire escape."
"One of the words one of the firefighters used was bedlam. It was bedlam," said FDNY Deputy Chief Paul Mannix. "A lot of people on the fire escapes, people screaming. They knew kids were in the apartment. It's just a very chaotic "
Fire marshals determined the fire to be accidental and said that there were no working smoke alarms in the apartment.
Police say the mother of the children had candles burning in the apartment.
Con Edison said that they shut off power to the apartment because the family owed them thousands of dollars.
The mother and daughters were treated for smoke inhalation.
Neighbors said they will step in to support the family.
"They are going to be missed," said neighbor Valerie Frazier. "We're going to make sure we be there for the family and we do everything that we can for them."
"Everybody in the bridge looks out for everybody. It's just neighborly like that," said neighbor Theresa Smith. "We just do that. We love each other."
Neighbors said that the fire brought back memories of another one around the corner in 2007. Ten members of two families from Mali in West Africa were killed in a fire, nine of them children.
"Seven years ago, there was a tragedy over here with these kids," Woods said. "What is going on out here?"
The Red Cross said it's helping 11 families displaced by the fire.
Brooklyn Funeral Home and Cremation Service has offered to cover the funeral costs for the family.