(CHARLESTON, W.Va.) — Flames engulfed a Charleston, W.Va. home early Saturday morning killing eight people, including a group of children.
Six children, all under the age of eight years old, died in the fire, officials said.
One child remained on life support, ABC affiliate WCHS reported.
The victims, who are unidentified, were two sisters and their children, neighbors told the station.
An adult woman escaped the two story dwelling around 3:30 a.m. and called 911 from a neighbor’s home.
Assistant Fire Chief Bob Sharp told ABC News that officials are investigating how the blaze started.
Sharp said the house did not have any smoke detectors installed on the ceilings, however one was placed under a counter but wouldn’t have been able to detect the inferno in time to warn the occupants of the home.
“Where it was at, it wouldn’t have helped at all,” Sharp said. “I’ve been here 26 years and never had this many fatalities period and especially involving children in a single family dwelling.”
For now, investigators are sifting through the debris, hoping to find clues of what caused what they called the worst fire in Charleston’s history.
“I mean it was quite a hot fire, you know coming out, fully involved out the front, it had already vented itself, so we know there was no survivability in the front room at all,” Sharp said.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones will hold a press conference this afternoon.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Ralph Ellis, Ashley Fantz, Faith Karimi and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
David Williams, CNN