Four young cousins were killed and their mothers were injured in a blaze that broke out in a Fairfield apartment just before 9 p.m. Wednesday night.
Investigators determined the fire was accidental. They say it was started by a candle on a television in the living room. Police say the power to the apartment unit was recently cut off but investigators have not yet determined why.
It only took firefighters three minutes to get to the fourplex at 728 Delaware St., but neighbors had already smashed in the windows of the unit. They managed to put out some of the flames using garden hoses, according to Fairfield Fire Marshal Jerry Clark.
Fire crews found three of the children dead and the fourth was taken to North Bay Medical Center but died shortly afterward, Clark said. The children were between a year and a half to four years old. The women, who are sisters, were also taken to the hospital but their injuries are minor.
A search warrant was issued and the case was initially being investigated as criminal, which is routine in fatal fires.
One neighbor told our news crew that they heard a 'boom' before the fire. The neighbor who called rescuers said she heard screaming but thought it was just a domestic dispute in the apartment until she saw smoke coming from the apartment.
Bay City News contributed to this report.