It happened at a home in south suburban Lansing.
The fire chief and investigators were still on the scene Monday night hours after the deadly fire. It caused just minor damage to the home, but claimed two young lives.
The front of the house looked undamaged Monday night. The Christmas tree still stood in the living room of the two story home. Other Christmas decorations were also still in place. But the house was surrounded by police and fire vehicles and police tape.
Some neighbors say they saw the fire but there was little they could do.
"I noticed the window was cracked and it looked like smoke was coming out. So what we did, I ran around to the front door and rang the bell and knocked several times and nobody came," said a neighbor who did not want to be identified.
Firefighters first were called the scene about 3:30 Monday afternoon. They say the father was home at the time but was able to escape. The two children were in an upstairs bedroom when firefighters found them.
"It was relatively a small amount of fire upon our arrival. All our efforts were on saving the children," said Chief Dan Gregorovic, Lansing Fire Department.
Fire investigators could be seen removing a burnt mattress from the upstairs bedroom.
Neighbors say the family has two older children who apparently were not home at the time. Paramedics were unable to save the two younger children.
"Taken into the ambulance immediately...transported. Despite our best efforts, both children perished in the fire," said Gregorovic.The Medical Examiner's Office has not released the identity of the victims. They did not suspect foul play but are investigating the fire.