HARLAN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Update: 2:00 p.m., April 24
Kentucky State Police tell us some time today the mother Allyson Howard died from her injuries. Doctors told troopers Dennis Chad Howard remains in critical condition.
Update: 3:00 p.m., April 23
The nonprofit group With Love From Harlan is raising money to pay for funeral expenses for the twin toddlers killed in a fire Monday.
All money is going directly to the funeral home. The group has raised more than $5,500 so far from community donations.
Update: 10:15 a.m., April 23
We now know the names of the parents following a house fire that killed twin toddlers.
Kentucky State Police say, Dennis Chad Howard, 39, of Totz and his wife, Allyson Howard, 42, of Totz were severely injured in Monday's fire.
"You know their family is really worried for them, that's for sure," said William Howard with the Kentucky State Police Post 10."
Their twin toddlers were found dead in the home after crews spent hours searching.
"Yesterday hit home, one of the burn victims, in this case, is a family member of mine," said Howard.
Dennis was his cousin.
"You know it's just difficult, you know for his family, his parents they're both having a hard struggle with it, he sustained some serious injuries," said Howard.
We hope to have an update on the parents' condition.
Original Story, April 22
EMS responded to a house fire in Harlan County Monday morning.
Fire officials tell us the fire was at a home in the Totz community, off Route 522.
Kentucky State Police said the call came in around 11:18 a.m. They found a husband and wife lying on the ground outside the house with severe burns. The couple was taken to a burn unit in Augusta, Georgia.
The two victims have life-threatening injuries, according to police. They have not released any names at this time.
Neighbors say they heard something concerning as the fire started.
"Heard some cracking sounds, turn around and see flames in the window", said Shawn Crow, who lives next door. "And I was hoping that they were not home. I immediately dialed 911 on my cell phone. And as soon as I got on the phone with them, I saw the front door fling open and flames come out. He came running out with his hair on fire."
Several fire departments were on the scene, along with several detectives. They have not released the cause of the fire.
KSP said the couple had twin three-year-olds. After searching for several hours, the toddlers were found dead inside the home.
A neighbor told us she tried to comfort the woman lying on the ground as help arrived.
"I got up and looked and saw everybody running. And then I looked up and about that time the whole house just exploded. And the neighbor over here and that guy went up and got her off the steps and brought her down in the yard. She was... you wouldn't want to see it," said Dana Petersen. "She knew her phone number, she knew how old she was. She knew her kids' names. She just kept saying to me, 'Dana, don't leave me, don't leave me.' I said, 'I'm not going to'. And then she wanted me to go get her babies and I said, 'No I got to stay here with you.'"
The arson investigator from Kentucky State Police will be at the home to determine how the fire started.
Officials say the children's bodies will be sent to Frankfort for autopsies.