By Mugo Odigwe

CHICAGO (CBS)– Shock and grief in northwest suburban Ingleside, where a house fire took the lives of two young girls.

At least four other people are in the hospital, suffering from burns and smoke inhalation.

CBS 2’s Mugo Odigwe tells us what neighbors are saying.

The house near Hunt and Maple is now boarded up, but the damage the fire left behind is still so clear.

Firefighters said the two girls – a 5-year-old and 8-year-old – were found dead somewhere on the second floor of the house.

Under daylight, it’s hard to miss the charred remains if the two-story house, much of it blackened.

Left intact in the backyard is a playhouse where two little girls, 8-year-old Lizzie Evans and 5-year-old Autumn Evans, will never get to play again.

“I mean I remember talking to them recently about not being able to go to school because of COVID, and they were excited about getting back to school,” neighbor Diane Barty said.

Fire crews were called to the two-story home around 10:45 p.m. Thursday.

Cell phone video recorded by a neighbor is a bit grainy, but it shows the huge flames shooting out of the house.

“I saw the whole house engulfed, and it was the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” neighbor Kathleen Donnelly said.

Five-year-old Autumn Evans and 8-year-old Lizzie Evans were killed in a house fire in northwest suburban Ingleside on Dec. 10, 2020. (Source: GoFundMe)

Donnelly said seven people lived in the home; including the girls’ parents, grandparents, and their teenage brother. The girls’ father wasn’t home at the time.

“The neighbor down the road went in and rescued the father, or the grandfather out of the house,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly said the girls’ 17-year-old brother jumped out of the window to escape the blaze, as neighbors urged his mother to do the same.

“She tried to go and get her kids, and I guess she must have caught on fire, because she burned herself,” Donnelly said.

By the time fire crews arrived, the entire home was on fire. Those who made it out told them three people were still trapped inside. Crews found and rescued the grandmother, but the two girls didn’t make it out alive.

According to the Lake County Coroner’s office, preliminary autopsy results showed both girls died of smoke inhalation.

“These little girls were just so sweet. They’re very sweet little girls,” Barty said.

A GoFundMe page for the family has already raised more than $27,000.

Information on that page says the mother and grandparents are hospitalized at the burn unit at Loyola University Medical Center. The son and dad are stable.

In addition to the girls, Lizzie and Autumn, the family’s two pets, a dog and cat, died in the fire.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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