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Vigil to be held for 4 children killed in house fire

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Four children were killed in a house fire on Chicago South Side Monday morning.

The four siblings were trapped and died in the bedroom of their apartment. Two were found huddled in a closet that had no door. Two were found on a bed - an older sibling on top of the younger one as if there for protection.

The 911 call came in about 3:40 a.m. but fire officials tell WGN the fire may have been smoldering even longer because it was a torch by the time they arrived.

It started in an apartment on the second floor where no one was home and it spread quickly down the hallway and the back stairs to the third floor where the children, their mother and her boyfriend were sleeping.

Fire officials believe the boyfriend opened the door to the hallway. The flames were so intense that they pushed them back most likely into a corner of the living room where they had about ten seconds to decide whether to jump or not.

Shamaya Coleman broke her arms and legs in the jump. Her boyfriend, Nate Johnson, because he opened the door, inhaled flames and smoke that scorched his throat and lungs. He was transferred to Loyola University Medical Center's burn unit and is in critical condition.

15-year-old Carlysia Clark was smart, third in her high school class. 13-year-old Carlvon Clark was an 8th grader who was going to go to a military high school. 12-year-old Shamarian Clark loved to dance. And 7-year-old Eriana Smith, is remembered by her uncle as just a sweetheart.

The remaining sister of the children, 10-year-old Mikayla, lives with her father.

Shamaya Coleman keeps asking about her children and no one has told her yet what happened.

The cause of the fire is not suspicious and was most likely caused by an open flame . The owner of the building at 112th and S. Vernon has been cited for 38 building code violations in the past six months, including missing smoke detectors.  There were early reports about a back door that was bolted shut so the family couldn't get out, but that was not the case. The door was barred on the inside with a 2x4 so no one could get in but they could get out. In reality though, the family didn't have a chance to even get to the back door, they were trapped by flames.

A prayer vigil has been organized for 7 p.m. Monday night near the home.

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