Six children who were unaccounted for after an early morning house fire in Baltimore are presumed dead, officials said Thursday, as the children's mother and three other siblings were taken to a hospital for treatment.
Authorities arrived to battle the blaze at the three-story home in Baltimore, Maryland, at 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, Baltimore Fire Chief Roman Clark said.
Firefighters say they have received reports of children trapped in the rubble following a collapse inside of the building.
City Councilman Brandon M. Scott, who represents the area, said the fire "is truly a tragedy and is devastating to our community".
"They are still trying to wrap their arms around this, but we have made it clear that my office is going to every single thing in our power to embrace them in this very, very hard time", he said. Three of the nine children survived.
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings' office identified the woman injured as one of his staff members.
Congressman Cummings said in a statement that Mrs Malone has worked as a special assistant in his Catonsville office for almost 11 years.
The cause of the fire is unknown and will be investigated.
The staffer, Katie Malone, was also hospitalized. The father of the children, William Malone, said the third child has been released from the hospital after being in serious condition, and Malone has since been upgraded to stable condition.
The third floor of the home collapsed onto the second floor, hindering attempts by firefighters to get into the house for search and rescue, according to Clark. The blaze is contained, but hasn't been brought under control.