A child died Monday when fire trapped him and two other children in a bedroom while they were in the care of a babysitter, San Diego Fire-Rescue officials said.
Firefighters were called a little after midnight to the home at J and Toyne streets in the Mount Hope community, south of Market Street and west of Interstate 805.
Flames were seen throughout the home and shooting from the attic, officials said.
Officials were told there were five people in the home – two adults and three children. Crews were told the children were trapped in a back bedroom. Firefighters were able to pull two children from the home. Those victims were said to be in critical condition. A third child died in the fire. Fire officials say the boy was 12 years old.
Battalion Chief Mike McBride said crews tried everything they could.
“Everything was done to put these kids in the best, to give them the best chance they could have,” he said pausing before adding, “Can’t always win.”
The children transported to the hospital were between the ages of 6 and 8 years old, according to officials' estimates.
An adult male, identified by fire officials as the babysitter's boyfriend, was in the home at the time it went up in flames.
Officials say the man suffered burns as well after making it out of the house on his own.
The injured were taken to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.
Two firefighters were also injured - one with burns to his ears, the other with a knee injury, according to officials. They have been released from the hospital.
Neighbor Grover Williams said one man was able to pull one of the babysitters out but he could not get into the home to rescue the children.
“He knocked out the windows and he kicked the door in,” Williams said. “But the smoke was so great he couldn’t get in.”
Williams said the babysitter told him a portable heater may have been placed too close to a mattress. Officials have not confirmed the cause of the fire.
Neighbor Robert Tapia said he heard the noise of glass breaking from across the street. When he found out what was happening he ran to help.
"It was heartbreaking," he said. "I wanted to help but I just couldn't."
Suzanna Reyes told NBC 7 she's a longtime friend of the woman who lives in the home. Reyes said her friend was taking her eldest child back to college when the fire broke out.
"Being a single mother with six kids, I know she's going to need a lot of support," Reyes said.
Reyes and her husband tried to spray down the house with water, open the windows and doors but there was only so much they could do.
NBC 7 has learned the boy who died was a 7th grader from at Millennial Tech Middle School on Carolina Lane.
A school administrator described the student as a great kid who was "always upbeat." The boy was "a happy young man doing the right thing," the school official said.
Grief counselors have been arranged for faculty members and students at the school.
McBride said grief counselors would be available for firefighters and other first responders.
Check back for updates to this developing story.