An Oklahoma City house fire that raged through a home on Wednesday morning killed five people, including four children and their mother.
A space heater that was near flammable material was blamed for the fatal fire, the Oklahoman reported.
Jeanine Bonnet, 28, and her four children, Natalie Leon, 8; Samantha Leon, 7; Matthew Zackary Leon, 5; and Kara Leon, 3, died in the fire, the newspaper reported.
The house fire that killed the five family members started around 6:30 a.m., it said.
Bonnet is divorced from the children's father, Matthew Leon. Her boyfriend, Brian Poletto, 39, suffered severe burns in the blaze and was in critical condition as of Wednesday at a local hospital, the Oklahoman reported.
Frankie Leon, the children’s grandmother, told the newspaper that Bonnet “was a good mother.”
“She took care of her children,” Frankie Leon said.
She then described her grandchildren.
“Natalie was 8. She was the stubborn one,” Frankie Leon told the newspaper. “Sammy was age 7. She was the coy sweetheart. Matty was age 5, and he was your average typical boy. Kara was age 3. They liked to ride the quads with their dad. They loved to get muddy. They liked to do crafts. They liked to do everything. They were active young children.”
Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Gary Knight reflected on the timing of the fatal house fire.
“It’s never a good time, but the day after Christmas, it’s horrible,” he told the Associated Press.
David Ruppert, a renter in the home, escaped from the house, the AP reported.
"All I was saw was smoke. My eyes were immediately burning," he recalled. "The kids didn't have a chance. If I hadn't been up (awake) already, I'd have been dead too."
Neighbor Toni Wyatt said she rescued a man from the house, but it’s unclear whether it was Ruppert or Poletto.
“I heard a guy yelling, ‘Help! Help!' I went over to see what was going on and helped pull the guy out of the house,” Wyatt said, according to the Oklahoman.
The bodies of three dogs were also found in the destroyed home.
A fire department official said the house did not have any smoke detectors that worked. A spokeswoman for the department said gas service was not in the home “for some time” and space heaters were scattered throughout the house.