The flames broke out at a second floor apartment on Burke Avenue in the Williamsbridge section around 9:30 a.m.
"Raging flames, the fire must've been going for a very long time," witness Miosotis Linares said. "The fire department...they were scrambling. The top part of the building was completely engulfed and enraged."
The FDNY responded to calls of a fire with people trapped and arrived in approximately three minutes.
Also Read: 5 women become first all-female fire rescue crew in Florida department's 57-year history
They had approximately 70 members operating at the scene, and the fire was placed under control at 10:10 a.m.
The three children -- ages six, three and 16 months old -- were pulled from the apartment and rushed to Jacobi Hospital in critical but stable condition.
"They were all on the bed, right above them was a window," FDNY Captain Daniel McEnroe said. "I pushed out the air conditioner, the room lit up a little bit where we could see. That's where we saw the three kids. They looked like they were sleeping. They were all huddled together, and they looked like they were sleeping. And then we just moved as fast as we can to get them out."
"One of the firemen came out with a lifeless child, ran into the ambulance, put the child down and commenced CPR," Linares said. "The second child came out lifeless. The fireman put down the stretcher, put the child on the floor and started CPR."
They are expected to survive.
Related: Shops, restaurants destroyed by fire in Nassau County
Their 33-year-old mother, Remi Lateim, was brought to the hospital to be interviewed.
Police said she had actually taken a family member to the hospital at the time of the fire.
She was apparently concerned about bringing the children to the hospital with her.
Police say the mom has been arrested and charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
During the time she was away, an electrical fire broke out in the structure.
The FDNY later said on Twitter that the cause of the fire was "accidental, electrical, building wiring."
Firefighters said a smoke alarm was present but not operational.
Firefighters say they arrived in the nick of time, and if the rescue had happened even a minute later, the outcome may have been different.
* More Bronx news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip