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3 children pulled from Henrico apartment fire have died

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- The three children pulled from a smoke-filled Henrico apartment on July 7 have died, a Henrico fire spokesman confirmed.

The fire was reported at 3 a.m. Friday at the Highland Pointe apartments, along the 1000 block of West Nine Mile Road, in eastern Henrico.

Unattended cooking was ruled as the cause of the fire, according to investigators.

The children, identified as Jeremiah, 7, Shyla, 2, and Sage, 1, were found unresponsive in the apartment.

Jeremiah, Shyla & Sage (PHOTO: Family photo)

A 25-year-old man, said to be the boyfriend of the children's mother, was also in the apartment and found unresponsive. His current condition was not available.

Neighbors reported smelling smoke inside of their own apartments and hearing smoke detectors before running outside for help.

Valerie Hill remembered three small children live in Apartment K and said the family wasn't answering the door.

"We tried banging on the door, but we couldn't get a response and by that time the firetrucks had pulled up," Hill said. "My neighbor told me she heard one of them crying. It took firefighters a few minutes to get in and seeing them bring those babies out was just heartbreaking."

Firefighters were on scene within five minutes of the initial 911 call and busted the door to reach the young victims.

"A battalion chief arrived first and found no smoke or flames from the outside. However, when the first fire engine arrived moments later and entered the apartment, they were met with thick smoke throughout both floors, reducing their visibility to almost zero. The firefighters immediately began a search of the apartment to check for victims," Henrico Fire spokesman Capt. Taylor Goodman said.

Neighbors said the children's mother was at work at the time of the fire.

The case remains under investigation.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist the mother with funeral expenses.

This is a developing story. Witness can email news tips and photos here.