"It's just a tragedy," said neighbor Maurice Khims. "When you're looking at it from here, you can see the destruction."
The fire took the roof and gutted five units there, but more than that, took the lives of the two school-aged children. Eyewitness News has learned the victims are Kaitlyn Novak, 12, and Christian Novak, 8. Kaitlyn was a sixth grade student at Space Center Intermediate and Christian was a second grader at Armand Bayou Elementary.
Nearby resident Shawn Fredericks was there as firefighters arrived.
"The embers were flying over Las Palmas, as well, so we were knocking on doors in the first building," she said.
When Webster firefighters got there, fire was already shooting from the building, but there was more.
"When we got here, we were told of children trapped inside," said Webster Fire Chief Patrick Shipp. "They did pull out two children at that time; a mother, as well as a third child, which was brought out by the mother."
But then the building started to collapse. The mother, Dana Novak, 32, and one of her children were sent to the hospital. Another one, the youngest, was OK. But one who was pulled out and one left trapped inside died.
Even strangers acknowledged the loss is unimaginable.
"I have children of my own," said Khims. "You always want to protect your children. The first thing I did was double check my fire alarms."
Dana is listed is good condition. The child who was hospitalized, Nathaniel Novak, 5, was flown by Life Flight to Memorial Hermann Hospital and is reportedly in critical condition.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.