The fire broke out on the first floor of the home on Martin Luther King Drive in Jersey City just after 11:30 p.m.
First responders were met outside by a mother and her 6-year-old son, who said two children were still inside the house.
The Hudson County Regional Arson Task Force is investigating a fatal fire that occurred last night at 470 MLK Drive just after 11:30 pm in which an 11-year-old child and an 8-month-old child died. More info to follow.— ProsecutorSuarezHCPO (@HCPOProsecutor) February 11, 2021
Authorities said the 6-year-old woke the mother up, and she first got him outside, but the door locked behind her, preventing her from re-entering the home.
After battling through heavy smoke, firefighters located two victims on the second floor.
The 11-year-old girl was pronounced deceased at the scene, while her 8-month-old brother was transported to the Jersey City Medical Center, where he was pronounced deceased at 12:24 a.m.
Fire investigators believe the girl died while desperately trying to save her baby brother.
The fire was reported under control at 12:07 a.m.
"I don't want to even imagine," neighbor Lawrence Anderson told Eyewitness News. "Those are the age of children I teach. Any child in harm's way, it hurts me."
Three police officers were treated for smoke inhalation.
"We got banging on the door, people were screaming telling us, 'Help! Get out!'" neighbor Brandy Williams said. "I'm just shocked. I've sent prayers out, hopefully for the cops that are injured. We thank y'all for trying to help us."
Residents of several attached homes, which were damaged by smoke, were being given shelter.
The Hudson County Regional Arson Task Force is working to determine what caused the fire, but no foul play is suspected.
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