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Two children killed in house fire while their mother gives birth at hospital

By Mason White 6:00 PM November 23, 2014
The family 

By: Chan Yuan
(Scroll down for video) A family is feeling shattered as two children died while their mother was giving birth to her third child.

Police in California, said that 2-year-old Joey Suarez and his 6-year-old sister Candra Leetch, died in a fire and their father was seriously injured.

The fire happened while their mother, Angelica Suarez, was in the hospital and giving birth to a third child, said authorities.

The family had been living illegally in a foreclosed apartment in San Bernardino, and were ordered to leave the apartment at least once before. The family left, but later returned, fire officials said.

The father, Saul Leetch, was taken to a hospital in critical condition with smoke inhalation and severe burns over most of his body, said fire battalion Chief Michael Bilheimer.

The mother of the children had gone into labor and went to the hospital before the fire started. Authorities waited for her to give birth before giving her the bad news in the hospital.

The fire was reported shortly after 3:00 a.m. A neighbor who was walking a dog, saw smoke coming from the unit, which had no smoke detectors, Bilheimer said.

The father was heard screaming inside the burning and smoke-filled house, while frantically looking for his children.

Firefighters extinguished the fire within 20 minutes. The children were found unconscious and not breathing behind the living room sofa, Bilheimer said.

Despite efforts to revive them, the kids were pronounced dead at a hospital.

The father was found on the floor near the front door.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation, but investigators believe it was an accident.