KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) -- A fire sparked by an overloaded electrical circuit ripped through a home with no smoke detectors, killing a woman and three young children, authorities said. Five others escaped the blaze.
The fire started around 7 a.m. Thursday in the living room, where the family had plugged an air conditioner, television, cable box and VCR into a single outlet, Lt. John Morrissey said. That outlet started the fire.
Killed were DeShyria Body, 5; her sister, Destini Evans, 11; and their brother, Chauncey Body Jr., 19 months, police and family members said. They died at a hospital. Their 21-year-old step-aunt, Theresa Lopez, died at the fire scene.
The children's parents, another sister and their uncle escaped the blaze.
''Words can't even express how I feel right now. I lost my babies,'' said the girls' father, Chauncey Body Sr.
The girls' 8-year-old sister, DeJanee Body, smelled smoke and woke up her father, Morrissey said. He raced to a neighbor's house to call for help because the fire prevented him from reaching the phone.
When he got back to the house, his wife, and their 8-year-old daughter were outside, Morrissey said. The father tried to go back into the house for the other children but couldn't because of the flames and smoke.
Lopez had just moved in the day before to be more involved with their lives, said Rhonda Antrim, the sister of the children's mother, Renee Body.
Firefighters from a station just up the street got there within three minutes of the call but found the front of the home in flames and smoke in the rest of the home, Battalion Fire Chief Matt Haerter said.
They rescued the uncle, Edward Body, from the roof of the porch, Morrissey said. They found the two sisters and the infant in the same bedroom and the step-aunt sitting in a chair in the living room, he said.
''It's an absolute tragedy,'' Morrissey said, noting people can pick up free smoke detectors at any city fire station. ''That very well may have saved some lives here.''
Antrim said the family gathered Thursday at the hospital.
''We're all just trying to deal with this the best we can, a lot of talking, a lot of crying, trying to figure out what to do next,'' she said.