A birthday party and sleepover for five children, ages 6 to 11 turned into a tragedy when a fire took their lives.

The Spearfish, South Dakota Fire Department responded Saturday (April 3) at 4:23 AM. Despite their many efforts, the flames became a barrier between firefighters and the children inside, according to Gary Matthews of KBHB Radio in Sturgis, SD.

Lt. Boyd Dean of the Spearfish Fire Department says several adults were taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.

Dean says the children may be from multiple communities.

"The investigation is still under way so we are still determining how many males, how many females and which of these children are from Spearfish and which are from different communities."

Dean says they are reaching out to the families to provide assistance, as well as many other members of the community.

"We are receiving an outpouring of community support and ask that everybody keep these families in their prayers. And, that we are going to work with them and our first responders to make sure we get by."

He says the support of the firefighters during this time of loss is crucial.

"Someone once said from the horror of tragedy comes the best from humanity. And what we’ve seen this morning is an unspeakable horror, but some extreme professionalism from our law enforcement, our firefighters and our medical personnel."

The names of the children have not yet been released.

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