Four people, including three young children, were killed in a late-night fire that tore through a Homewood home.
Officials said they believe a mattress caught fire and quickly engulfed the home in flames early Thursday morning at the Nolan Court apartment.
A mother and her three children could not get out of the house in time, authorities said. The children were 3, 6, and 7 years old. One child, the 3-year-old victim's twin, did escape the fire, crews said.
Pittsburgh Public Schools released a statement on Thursday, naming two of the children who died in the blaze.
“Pittsburgh Public Schools is saddened by the very heartbreaking loss to our Pittsburgh Faison family.
Ky' Yrik McCullough (6) and My' Zhirik McCullough (7), both first-graders at Pittsburgh Faison K-5, died early this morning in a tragic fire.
“Ky' Yrik and My' Zhirik will be greatly missed by all who knew them,” the district said in a statement.
Investigators told Channel 11 News reporter Alan Jennings that the suspected cause of the fire was a child playing with a cigarette lighter.
Investigators said the mother's boyfriend was on a couch downstairs watching television when the 7-year-old came downstairs to get a pot of water.
Shortly afterward, the child came downstairs again to get another pot of water, presumably to put the fire out, authorities said.
The boyfriend followed the child upstairs and discovered a large fire in a bedroom.
The second and third floors were engulfed in flames when firefighters and police arrived.
Police attempted to rescue the victims who were trapped on the upper floors, but they were forced back by the flames.
Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones said it took about 45 minutes for firefighters to get the blaze under control.
“Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we don't have the desired result that we would want,” said Jones. “This is one of those times."
The victims' names have not been released.
Neighboring homes in the apartment complex sustained water damage.
Copyright 2011 by WPXI.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.