BARSTOW, California -- Two young sisters were killed in a house fire started by a Christmas tree and the grieving parents are now issuing warnings they hope can save other lives.
Charmon and Akeem Isom are still processing the tragedy and helping their other children cope with the loss of their siblings. But they hope their story can help save others by reminding them of the importance of fire safety, especially during the holidays.
Cellphone video shows the Isoms' four-bedroom home covered in smoke and flames on Dec. 14.
They say they didn't realize they didn't have a smoke detector, so the family of eight had to scramble quickly when they discovered the spreading flames that started with their Christmas tree.
"It wasn't like you heard an alarm system and you try to get everybody out, like hey hey let's go," Charmon said. "No, we didn't have a warning."
Barstow firefighters rushed to the scene after receiving calls of a house fire with children trapped inside.
But 2-year-old Aalijah and 7-year-old Annie didn't survive their injuries from the fire.
Their parents describe Aalijah as the heart of the family, who loved spending time with her older siblings.
Annie was full of life and always wanted to have fun and play family board games.
"We're just praying and praying for some type of strength and guidance through this," Charmon said. "Our kids are very hurt. They are confused. They're wondering what's next."
The Isom family also lost their entire home in the fire and they are now staying with family members as they start over.
But they also want to take this tragic moment to remind other families to keep Christmas trees watered and make sure you have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in your home. Also, practice fire drills with your children.
"Make sure you guys are on your landlords about electricity, the safety. The fire extinguishers, the fire alarms in your house. Make sure that is the number one priority in your house."
They also hope they can save lives more directly by donating the organs of their daughters.