AKRON, Ohio — A mother and her three children died Wednesday after flames erupted and consumed a home in Akron.
A family member has identified the mother as Lydia Aponte, 31, and the children as Makayla Montero, 10; Isaiah Ortiz, 6, and Aiden Ortiz, 4.
Firefighters were called to a residence in the 2000 block of 18th Street SW just after 9 a.m. and arrived within minutes, according to the Akron Fire Department.
Crews worked in subzero temperatures to douse the blaze, but due to the extreme heat from the flames and the cold temperatures outside they had a hard time going into the house. Firefighters tried several times to enter the home but were forced out each time from the sheer volume of flames engulfing the structure.
"We could see, like, flames just shooting out of the windows, the top of the windows, like it was really intense," said David Lee Morgan Jr, who first noticed the fire as he drove his wife to work. "You could tell it was a bad fire."
The fire was eventually controlled and extinguished. Authorities are investigating the cause of the fire and where in the house it started.
The woman’s fiancé said everyone was asleep when the fire started. He survived by jumping out of a window, authorities said.
"He was trying to get into the house to see how many of the family members he could assist to get out of the house, how many he could find, but the fire was too hot, and the smoke was too much" said Lt. Sierjie Lash with the Akron Fire Department.
"I saw the gentleman out, I was hoping nobody else was in there," said Morgan. "But I didn't know. That's just troubling to hear. On a day like this, being off school, I knew it was bad. That's terrible."
The Akron School District released the following statement regarding the children:
"The entire Akron Public Schools family is grief stricken that a wonderful young family, a family new to our community and a blessing to Pfeiffer Elementary School is gone. We hope you will join all of us as we pray for these children, their mother and everyone who was close in their lives." - David W. James, superintendent Akron Public Schools
Akron School Board President Rev. Dr. Curtis T. Walker Jr. also released a statement:
On behalf of the Akron School Board, I wish to express our deepest sympathy to this family and the Pfeiffer school community. Our prayers go with these children and their mother and all in their extended family. We also pray for those in the Kenmore community who were close with this young family."
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help cover funeral expenses. Those wishing to donate can do so here.
Editor's note: Video provided by David Lee Morgan Jr.