WILMINGTON, DE --Two young girls were killed and their mother was critically injured when flames tore through a home in Wilmington, Delaware, Tuesday afternoon.
The blaze erupted around 4:10 p.m. inside a home on the 400 block of North Monroe Street.
Witnesses say out of nowhere the home just exploded.
"I tried to get in there and all I kept thinking about was the kids," neighbor Aaron McManus said.
McManus only made it to the kitchen before intense smoke pushed him out.
"I ran around the back and opened the door, and crawled in there and screamed 'anybody in here,' but it was so much smoke coming," McManus said.
Two children, a 3-month-old girl and a 3-year-old girl, were killed in the fire.
Fire investigators say the 37-year-old mother and her 2-year-old child barely escaped.
"From the back of her head to her calf, it was burned," neighbor Reginal Seeney said describing the mother's injuries.
Witnesses say despite her injuries, the mother tried to go back into her burning home.
Neighbors say all they could do was call for help.
"She just was screaming, 'please get my babies, help me, help me,' and it was surreal - my husband and I tried to do the best that we could to help, it was horrible," neighbor Shantala Seeney said.
The inferno at times was so intense the Action Cam captured images of a firefighter going headfirst out of a second story window. He wasn't injured and continued fighting the flames.
The 37-year-old mother is in critical but stable condition at an area hospital.
The 2-year-old was transported to St. Francis Hospital to be checked out, but has since been released.
Authorities say the mother and children are members of a family of nine.
"The house was like any home with nine people living in there, a lot of materials in there, and the fire travelled quickly," Wilmington Fire Chief Anthony Goode said.
The fire was tamed within a half hour, but those who tried to help the family escape bear the scars of Tuesday's loss, including Aaron whose injuries trying to help are nothing compared to his heavy heart.
"I feel helpless because I couldn't do anything, and I'm mad, I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight, because it feels like I let those kids down. But I didn't, but I did because I couldn't get to the kids," Aaron said.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.