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Long Island house fire kills mother, 3 kids

By Allie Malloy, CNN
updated 11:42 AM EDT, Sat October 12, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A mother and her three children were killed in a fire
  • Jennifer Mccusker apparently was trying to rescue the children
  • She appeared to have been taking her 2-year-olds out of their cribs

New York (CNN) -- A mother tried to rescue her baby twins from a house fire, but the blaze was too much and she, the twins and a third child perished Friday night, police said.

Jennifer Mccusker, 41, and her children -- 2-year old twins Ava and Brendon Mistretta and 7-year old Aiden Tarbell -- died after a fire started at the front of their Long Island home around 10 p.m., according to Suffolk Police.

Two neighbors reported seeing flames from the home and called authorities, the police department said in a news release.

The neighbors -- one of whom is an EMT -- attempted to enter the home but were unable to because of smoke and heat, police said.

Mccusker was found in a rear bedroom where she apparently was attempting to remove her twins from their cribs, police said.

Mccusker was able to remove one of her twins and appeared to have been trying to remove the second when she went unconscious, according to a police spokesman at the scene.

The oldest child, Aiden, was found in another bedroom, according to police.

The mother and her three children were transported to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital where they were pronounced dead.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, and police did not say whether there was anything suspicious about the fire.

Shoshanana Alexander, a neighbor, told CNN Affiliate WABC that Mccusker was a "very good mom."

"She always loved having people at her house... She was a very sweet person. Very sweet person," Alexander told WABC.

Autopsies were to be performed Saturday morning.

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