PHILADELPHIA --Family members have identified the mother and daughter critically injured Thursday in a house fire in the Morrell Park section of Northeast Philadelphia.
40-year-old Kristina Henes remains in critical condition at Temple University Hospital. Her 5-year-old daughter, Sophia, is in critical condition at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children.
Firefighters say smoke overwhelmed them both after fire broke out just before 5:30 p.m. Thursday at their home in the 3700 block of South Hereford Lane.
The little girl was trapped in a back bedroom, officials say.
The mom couldn't get to her through the smoke and flames. Nor could two others - an off-duty firefighter and an off-duty police officer, who is also a neighbor.
"Before the fire department arrived we actually had a Philadelphia police officer, who lives across the street, off duty, attempt to make a rescue, but was driven back by fire and smoke," said Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel.
An off-duty firefighter also failed to penetrate the smoke to get to the child.
"It was horrible. Her mom ran in there several times to try to save her. She just was coming out black from head to toe. She couldn't breathe," said neighbor Maren DiJoseph. "My heart was just breaking for them."
Firefighters were eventually able to bring the little girl out, and the fire was brought under control just before 6 p.m.
The victims were initially taken to Aria Health/Torresdale. The mother was later transferred to Temple and the child to St. Christopher's.
The off-duty officer was also injured trying to rescue the child. He is listed in stable condition.
The off-duty firefighter was not injured.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.