Two children injured in Lancaster City fire

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LANCASTER, Pa. -- Two children were injured in a fire at their home as they were sleeping.

According to police, the fire started around 1:50 a.m. Tuesday morning, in a second floor bedroom at a home on the 100 block of South Ann Street. An eight-year-old girl and her five-year-old cousin were airlifted to the Lehigh Valley Burn Unit in Allentown.

"We want to be as calm as we can with this tragedy," said Iris Torres, the girls' aunt, through a translator Tuesday afternoon. "We're putting faith in God that we wake up from this nightmare."

The eight-year-old girl is in intensive care and suffered burns to about 75 percent of her body, according to fire officials. The five-year-old girl's injuries were less severe, but she suffered burns to her hands and face, Torres said.

The girls' grandmother reportedly smelled smoke as the rest of the family was winding down from their Christmas festivities and had the eight-year-old's father check it out, according to fire officials.

"He went up, started checking, found the fire in the bedroom, grabbed the girls right away, carried them out and he went back up to try to fight the fire," said Battalion Chief Ken Barton of the Lancaster Bureau of Fire. "The good thing he did when he realized he couldn't fight it is he closed the door to the bedroom, so it kept the fire contained in there."

An investigation has ruled the cause of the fire accidental, caused by electrical issues in an object in the bedroom. The home had working smoke detectors.

Firefighters say it was one of their tougher calls.

"Obviously it's very tough to deal with anytime, especially with children, but Christmas night, the next morning, it's not a good situation to have to deal with, but unfortunately, it's part of our job and it happens," Barton said.

Torres says they're asking for one thing above anything else.

""My family needs a lot of prayers," Torres said. "It has not been easy for my family, especially since this happened on Christmas. At least we're all together, but it has not been easy."

Anyone who wishes to donate items such as clothes or food to the family can do so through the School District of Lancaster. They are collecting clothes in the following sizes: Girls 8-10, 14-16, XL; Women's 18, 1X, 4X, Medium; Men's Small, size 30 pants. For more information, call (717) 299-2700.

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