Cause of fatal house fire in Pendleton still unknown

Cause of fatal house fire in Pendleton still unknown »Play Video
PENDLETON, Ore. -- KEPR is looking into the fire that killed five people in Pendleton Sunday morning. Officials aren't releasing the names of the victims yet.

"I'm just in shock still, I don't think it's quite hit me yet," said Lauren Rehberg.

The father of Lauren Rehberg's son was killed in a fire that swept through this home on SE Court Place Sunday morning.

"I don't even know how to explain it, because I'm still in shock, but it was like, I just, the hardest thing is gonna be to tell my five year old son."

The fire was reported shortly after 6 a.m. Fire crews arrived in minutes, but five people still didn't make it out. Five were killed; two adults, and three children.

"Life ends fast, and a tragedy can happen at the drop of a hat and there's nothing you can do, so just go home and love your kids," said Rehberg.

Pendleton Police and fire investigators have been on the scene since Sunday morning. Officials say the house was old and didn't have the kind of materials that could stop flames from moving from one room to the next.

"It moved not only rapidly, but it burned extremely hot, so the structure itself is a total loss," said Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts

Fire crews had to enter through the back of the house because the front was completely engulfed in flames by the time they arrived.

The second floor was already starting to fall through when crews arrived. They had to fight it for an hour before it was even safe to send someone inside. While two people escaped, the five others could not.

"I know that God will help us through this, and we will come out stronger than ever," said Rehberg.

Two adults were able to escape the fire. They are in critical condition and being treated in a hospital in Portland.