CONCORD, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Three children were killed in a Concord house fire early Sunday morning, according to city officials.

The two who died at the scene were an 11-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy; officials say the parents were at the hospital with the third kid — a 16-year-old girl — who was in critical condition until she died during the evening hours.

“Whenever my mom told me, I was about to cry,” said neighbor Emily Herrera-Nava.

The incident happened on Aug. 20, 2023, at 1:08 a.m., at Champan Homes, a city-owned housing community on Lincoln Street Southwest near Harold Goodman Circle Southwest.

Officials say the Concord Fire Department started putting out the fire once they arrived and went to search the home along with the adjacent unit.

Three children were found and removed from inside the burning building. Officials said firefighters immediately began CPR on the children until Cabarrus County EMS arrived; two were pronounced deceased on the scene, and the third was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

“It feels like a dream,” said Ruby Herrera-Camacho, a neighbor. “It doesn’t really feel real. It’s just weird.”

Concord officials say the parents were not home, and no other occupants were there. Meanwhile, the occupants of the adjacent unit safely evacuated before fire crews arrived.

“Her daughter used to come up and play with my daughter in the house. But she’s in the house asleep now. She’s upset about it,” said Jonnie Grady, a neighbor.

The fire was brought under control by 1:30 a.m., according to Concord officials. Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the adjacent unit; however, it sustained heat and water damage.

“This was a total accident. Totally unavoidable. They take care of them kids,” said Bobby Mobley, another neighbor. “When I see them, they smile. They see me and just wave and smile. They were mine. Ooh, it just hurts.”

The American Red Cross is helping the displaced occupants, and the fire’s cause remains under investigation.

Statement released from Cabarrus County Schools Monday:

“Cabarrus County Schools’ grief counseling teams are available to support students and staff today at the affected schools. Students and staff will be able to be seen for crisis support and counseling by qualified school staff.

Out of respect for the family’s need for dignity and privacy, we cannot provide any of these students’ names or school assignments at this time.

Our thoughts continue to be with the family of these students and all those affected by this tragic situation.”