That father did manage to pull two of his kids to safety, both are in good condition Thursday night. But when he went back into the house for the other three, he suffered life-threatening burns. Investigators are now looking at dangerous space heater setup as a cause.
Thursday night, a growing memorial at the scene of the tragedy as loved-ones and neighbors mourning three young lives cut short.
"Sad. It really hurts because they were part of us. It really hurts. It hurt us bad," said neighbor Wanda Puckett.
The fire broke out shortly after ten Thursday night gutting the two-story home on Sibley Street.
"The smoke, the flames. Everything just happened so fast. We didn't really have time to react," neighbor Jasmine Rice said.
Rice was in the upstairs apartment.
Downstairs, where the fire started, 27-year-old Andre Young was calling for his children.
"I heard him say, 'My babies! My babies!'" Rice said. "And soon as I got on the bottom stair, I saw him shoot out. And as soon as he shot out, his whole back, everything was just on fire. He was on the ground. He was rolling."
Young had managed to pull two of his kids from the home, but three remained inside - four-year-old Dasani Young, his 3-year-old sister Alexia and brother Jayden, just 7 months old.
Firefighters would find them dead inside, mere feet from the front door.
Two of the siblings were in each other's arms.
"They were together. It was something I'll never forget," said Hammond Chief Fire Inspector Michael Opinker.
Officials say the home had no heat or electricity, both disconnected for months due to a lack of payment.
Firefighters say multiple space heaters were running, powered by extension cords running from upstairs. One of the space heaters connected to a propane tank.
"He was a very good dad," said Toni Stampley, Young's cousin. "She's a good mom, and they just tried really hard."
The children's mother and a sixth child were not home at the time of the fire. They've been at Stroger Hospital as their loved-ones recover.